Friday, May 17, 2013

Alexander Valley Vineyards 2008 Cyrus!

The Grand Champion At The Houston Rodeo!

These Cowboys Know Their Wines!!

2008  Alexander Valley Cyrus
It’s not often that you get the chance to visit greatness, but in 2006 your trusty band of wine tasters did when we visited the Alexander Valley Vineyards. It was a stop on our annual wine trip to the California wine country. And we tasted some really nice wines.

But at the time we didn’t know we were in the presence of greatness…but now we do! 

You see the Alexander Valley Vineyards 2008 Cyrus was named the Grand Champion at this year’s Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show International Wine Competition. But hey the Wetzel family, that’s who owns the winery are repeat winners. They also won the Grand Prize in 2010.

The Wetzel Family
And that’s what's great about our 2006 visit to the winery. Because in 2010 it was their 2006 version of the Cyrus that took home the Grand Champion belt buckle, Chaps and saddle! And now their 2010 Cyrus shows that their wines are the real thing… repeat Grand Champions!!

And just think we were there when that 2006 winner was being produced!!

Now if you read my blog very often you know I don’t trust the awards that almost all wineries have displayed. In fact it’s one of my top wine rules. There are so many wine competitions of all sizes, and you don’t know what wines were entered or even if the judges knew anything about wine. So my wine rule is, ignore the awards and judge the wine yourself! 

However in Texas, two wine competitions deserve our consideration. One is the Dallas Morning News’ awards and the other is the Houston Rodeo’s.

The 2013 Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show International Wine Competition had 2,884 wines from 943 wineries. So the competition was stiff. Just as important, they had some really outstanding judges. So trust me on this one, the winners were great wines! 

This brings me back to the Alexander Valley Vineyards and its wine. While they are distributed nationwide you may know them by their ever popular Sin Zin!! We bought several bottles of this fun Zinfandel when we visited in 2006. However their real gems are their Cyrus wines.

The 2008 award winner is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Melbec. 

Which helps explain why it has such intense colors! Its aromas of plum, black cherry and toasted oak are also outstanding. Better yet, its flavors of plum, cherry and blackberry with vanilla and oak really put it in the winner’s circle! 

And what is really nice is that the Cyrus 2008 is very young and will get even better with age! In fact Kevin Hall, the winemaker, says it will benefit from additional bottle ageing and will “age gracefully for 10 or 15 years.”

But don’t get me wrong it’s really good right now!  

Joe "Pinky" Koch & Jim Murphy
A fun side note to this wonderful winery happened last year on our wine trip. We stayed at the deLorimier winery and were wandering around the vineyards when we were approached by a very curious man wanting to know who we were. I guess Texans traipsing through his grapes was not an everyday event.

Turns out it was Jim Murphy the brother-in-law of Katie Wetzel Murphy.
Loved the grapes!
We had a great visit with Jim and really appreciated his hospitality. He showed us around the vineyard and showed us the various grapes. And tasting wine grapes still on the vine is amazing as you think about what they will become. And in Alexander Valley’s case that means some wonderful wines!

Hank Wetzel gets his saddle...again!
So the next time Hank Wetzel’s wines win the Grand Championship at the Houston Rodeo, and I’m sure there will be a next time; he needs to ask for a hat, spurs and boots to go with the saddles, chaps and belt buckles he’s already won!   


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  1. Why is there no wine competition at the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo? hmmmm.

  2. Because they barely have any wine to drink let alone judge! I really do think the Fort Worth Rodeo should have a craft beer competition!! Cheers!! Harold