Checkered Past Blind Tasting: The Day I Became A “Celebrity” Judge

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Checkered Past Blind Tasting

The smack down was on.  A side-by-side blind tasting of Messina Hof Texas wines vs. a line-up of global wines.  Add three celebrity judges (term used loosely as I was on that panel), wines wrapped in brown bags so the label can’t be seen, a bar full of tasters and let the games begin.

The panel consisted of me; Barrett Tillman of BlackMan Brewing, who manages the Barrel Aged Beer and Sour Program at Deep Ellum Brewing in Dallas; and Hathor Hendrix, a musician and vocalist who performs at Checkered Past Winery.

Checkered Past Blind Tasting

Checkered Past Blind Tasting

Tom Cortez, Messina Hof Winery, Sandro DiSanto, Checkered Past, and Mandy Graham, Messina Hof

I visited Checkered Past Winery a few months ago and loved the vibe.  When Sandro asked me if I’d like to participate in the tasting, I jumped at the chance.  It has been a long time since I tried Messina Hof wines and I was excited to have a chance to taste them again.  First some background, Messina Hof has been making wine for seven generations and is the largest producer of Texas wines.  It was the fourth winery founded in Texas.  Messina Hof produces 30 plus varieties of grapes, has more than 90 wine labels and produces more than 60,000 cases annually.

Our line-up was as follows.  The year was not provided on our tasting sheet, so it is omitted here, but if you look closely at the labels, you can find them.

Messina Hof Father and Son Cuvee Riesling

Bex Riesling (Germany)

Messina Hof Cabernet Franc

Raffault Cabernet Franc (Chinon, France)

Messina Hof GSM

Guicharde, Cotes du Rhone (France)

Messina Hof DRZ

Renwood Zinfandel (Dry Creek, CA)

The other judges and the wine bar attendees chose all the Texas wines.  I chose the international ones for three out of four choices. I think the important thing here is that for two of the choices, it was a tough back-and-forth for me.  My two experiences with Texas wines this year have been solid and I’m excited to continue to see the evolution of these wines.

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