Winemakers have to deal with a variety of natural troubles, such as lack of rainfall, unseasonable wet or cold, and crop pests and maladies. Two of the deadliest of these are phylloxera and Pierce's disease, and developing vines that are resistant is one of the top priorities of winemaking programs such as the University of California at Davis. But, here in Texas, one natural grape variety has built up resistence to both phylloxera and Pierce's: The very dark black Spanish grape also known as Lenoir (literally, French for "The Black"). Reports of Lenoir date back to the mid-1800's where it was discovered in Texas, then introduced to France. My wining partner and I sampled Chisholm Trail's Lone Wolf Lenoir during a tasting at their facility outside Fredericksburg, Texas.
In the tasting glass, Lone Wolf Lenoir is midnight violet in color, almost black. The nose sports rich plum and boysenberry. Very chewy on the palate, with blackberry and baking spices, and a raspberry, currant, and vanilla finish. Pairing Lone Wolf Lenoir with trail meats such as steaks, barbecue and game would be natural, as this tipple could stand up to any beef or red meat dish.
Hopefully, more Texas vineyards besides Chisholm Trail and Dry Comal Creek will see the light and begin growing this dark varietal. You see, while Lone Wolf Lenoir might be disease-resistent, true red wine lovers will be unable to resist its shadowy charms.