Wine review: McPherson Cellars Sangiovese 2008

It’s easy to champion regional wine when there are regional winemakers like Kim McPherson, whose self-named winery in Lubbock produces some of the best wines in Texas. Best yet, McPherson’s wines are reasonably priced; he understands that you can’t ask consumers to pay $25 for a bottle of wine for no other reason than it’s a regional wine.

McPherson has three great strengths as a winemaker. First, he has never once said that Texas should be Napa, which is something the Wine Curmudgeon hears all too often from regional winemakers. Second, because he understands that Texas isn’t Napa, he makes wine with grapes that are suited to the hot, dry climate. That means Spanish, Italian and southern French varietals — viognier instead of chardonnay and sangiovese instead of merlot (and if I could only get him to make chenin blanc, the world would be that much closer to perfection). Third, he makes wines that are enjoyable, a concept that too many winemakers (are you listening, California?) don’t understand.

The sangiovese (about $16, purchased, available at Central Market, Goody Goody and selected Whole Foods, Majestic and Sigel’s) is one of the best examples of what regional wine should be. It tastes like sangiovese, with cherry fruit, balanced acid, and soft tannins. But it is not Chianti, the sangiovese from Tuscany, and it is not sangiovese from California. McPherson takes what Texas gives him instead of forcing the wine to taste like what he thinks it should taste like.

Serve this with anything with red sauce, roasted chicken, or even barbecue.

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