"He" and "She" (which I guess would make a "They"), from the Swirl Smell Slurp blog have an ambitious project together that is pairing them with local bloggers across the country to try to taste America.  They are trying to taste wine from every state in this here US of A, and were kind enough to ask me and Jim Wilkerson from VineGeek to represent the state of Texas.  I'm proud to join 1WineDude, Josh from Drink Nectar, and Shannon from Michigan by the Bottle as participants in this awesome project.  The winery that will be demonstrating the taste of Texas is Mandola Estates Winery.  Check out the post on Swirl Smell Slurp here.

Mandola Estates is a winery based in the Hill Country of Texas that specializes in Italian varietal wines.  There are a number of Italian grape varieties that are doing really well in Texas right now, including Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Dolcetto, and Vermentino.  Mandola makes wines from all of these varieties, and today we are tasting the 2008 Mandola Vermentino and the 2008 Mandola Spino Montepulciano.  Both of these wines have been positively received in tastings around the country, so I was really excited to try them out and to see what They think of them.

Mandola winery

The 2008 Mandola Vermantino has a really nice crisp acidic flavor.  It is a medium bodied
wine with a 13.6% alcohol level, but after a touch of initial heat, I found the alcohol to be pretty balanced.  At first I wasn't getting a whole
lot of definition on the nose, but after I let it breathe a little
bit it really opens up for me.  I get a lot of herbal and mineral
aromas, along with some pear and a little bit of peach.  The mouth has
some great citrus components with good acidity and more minerality.

The 2008 Mandola Spino Montepulciano may well be the perfect Italian food Texas wine pairing.  The whole time
I was tasting it, I kept thinking about how much I wanted some
Spaghetti to go with it.  The nose really hits you with cherries and
black pepper and spices, along with a little bit of cedar.  The palate
is well balanced, with more spices and red fruits, as well as some
earthiness.  There is a perfect amount of acidity on this wine that
makes me crave food with it.

Mandola Estates is making some really interesting wines from varieties that are not very common yet here in Texas.  I think that these wines really show the potential that some of these Italian varieties have here, and I expect to see more of them from producers around the state in the future.

Thanks to Swirl Smell Slurp for inviting me to participate in United Slurps of America with them.  I had a lot of fun doing it.

Note: These wines were provided as samples by Mandola Estates Winery.

This Montepulciano wine allowed me to check off another variety for my Wine
Century Challenge
.  I now have reviewed 26 of 100 varieties, and
only have 74 to go!