This is one of an occasional series detailing Texas wineries. The complete list is here.
Let’s get the full disclosure stuff out of the way first. I like Kim McPherson, who runs Lubbock’s McPherson Cellars, and consider him a friend. His broker, John Bratcher, does wine tastings with me as part of the Two Wine Guys, and is a good friend. But I’d say the following about McPherson even if none of that was true:
Kim McPherson makes damn fine wine.
Yes, his labels aren’t hip, and yes, Tre Colore, his Rhone-style red blend, is a lousy name for a wine. But wine for wine, McPherson offers some of the best price/value ratios in the state. His wines, and especially the sangiovese and rose, are as good as anything made in the U.S. at their price. I’ve done the sangiovese in blind tastings with Chiantis, and even experts are hard pressed to tell the difference.
McPherson has been a part of the Texas wine industry almost since the beginning. His father, Clinton "Doc” McPherson, was a pioneer of the Texas wine business, and helped start Llano Estacado in 1976. Kim has worked at Llano and Cap Rock, made wine in California, and attended the University of California-Davis’ renowned wine program (where his classmates included Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm, Carol Shelton of zinfandel fame, and Bruce Cakebread of Cakebread Cellars).
The McPherson philosophy is simple: Use quality grapes – and that means Texas grapes -- and don’t screw them up. This produces what could well be the Texas style of wine – fruity but not simple, food-friendly but not just for food. McPherson’s wines aren’t as New World-like as those from California, but they’re more modern than similar European wines.
In addition, he was one of the first in Texas to move toward warm weather grapes like sangivoese and viognier, which are better suited to the Texas terroir.
And let’s not forget about his new $2 million winery in downtown Lubbock, which opened this month. It’s an impressive, state-of-the art facility that will give him the opportunity to make about 8,000 cases of wine a year.