One of life’s great lessons is to be who you are. Don’t try to be someone else. Which is why I cringe so deeply when I see so many Texas wines trying to be Californian. I have yet to find a Cabernet grown in Texas that is worth any price. Same with Texas Merlots and Pinots. I love to see wine regions run with what they can excel at, even if it isn’t the one of the top known varietals (like Wollersheim’s Prairie Fume or the Finger Lakes Rieslings). I also love to try and discover new tastes and varietals, which is what makes wine continuously interesting and fun to me.
That’s why I was really happy to cross paths with Bob’s Crossing Chambourcin from Hawkins in East Texas. It had been ages since I had last had this deep colored, yet fruitful varietal. Most Chambourcin in the United States is grown in the northeast because the grape typically has a longer growing season to full maturity yet is tolerant to cold and humidity.
Bob’s Crossing is a nice first vintage of Chambourcin. It seemed to be a hybrid of two different styles of the varietal: the color and appearance of the heavier Chambourcin’s that tend closer to Cab Francs and the flavor profile of the lighter Chambourcin’s that are typically produced as a Rose’. The color was a ruby red, but not as dark as I may have expected. The nose is really unique. A heavy vanilla and bright red strawberry, with a slight floral and dill tone. On the palette, the wine is fruit forward, backwards and sideways, with pronounced notes of cherry pie and cranberry. Mid-palette there is a tart Granny Smith tang. Although certainly not a dessert wine, there is a sweet hint that would make this a pleasant light-bodied opening aperitif or even a good poolside wine chilled a bit. To be more meal-worthy the next vintage will need to add some mouth weight with more tannic structure or heavier acid.
This isn’t a wine for the strict “Red Head.” If your desire is for weighty cabs, zins and merlots, you will be disappointed. But as a lighter summer afternoon wine or to try something a bit different, Bob’s Crossing is worth a try. (B-)