I had the chance to attend a tasting at Dallas-based Fuqua Wines in September.  Some of you may remember my surprise at the quality of the wines – especially the tempranillo — from my column in Black White and Read last November. 

Lee and his wife, Julia, started the winery a few years ago in the warehouse district in Dallas.  Fuqua’s motto is to distribute super ultra-premium wines using the best grapes from Texas, California, Oregon, Washington and Europe.  Lee and Julia would like to use more Texas grapes, but there is a huge shortfall of quality fruit, which is obviously a problem when your mission is to make premium wines.  We had the chance to meet Courtney Key, a wine making student about to start her apprenticeship in France, who was helping Lee and Julia with the most recent vintages.

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Courtney and Lee with the Fuqua 08 Chardonnay

We arrived to a glass of Segura Vidas Cava from Spain – obviously not a Fuqua wine, but a favorite sparkling of theirs and good palate cleanser.  This is a great value sparkler and has always been on my list of preferred value wines.

We tried a number of wines — some made by Fuqua, some made by others — but I’m going to point out a few that were of note to me:    

Fuqua 09 Summer Cabernet ($17.95) – very light, fruit forward and Beaujolais style with currant, vanilla, cherry and strawberry notes.  This was the only Texas wine and certified by the Texas Department of Agriculture to have 100 percent grapes from the Texas High Plains.  My personal preference was for the bigger styles, but because it is the only 100 percent Texas wine, I thought I’d mention it.

Fuqua 06 Syrah ($19.95)- very dark, spicy, concentrated fruit, wood, liquorice and coffee. This was a wine that needed food or a little more time to open.  Very interesting flavor combination and I would have liked to try it again the following day.

Fuqua Malbec Barrel 09 ($27.95), my favorite with the exception of the tempranillo, which has also not been bottled yet.  Even right out of the barrel I tasted lots of big blackberry fruit with vanilla and complex flavors.  Looking forward to picking up my pre-ordered bottles when they are ready and putting them down to age.

Fuqua wines are available at Pogo’s, select Sigel’s and Red’s Seafood.

I’ll let you know in a few years if I was right about the Malbec and I continue to eagerly wait for this year’s release of the tempranillo.