Home > Texas wine, Value Wines, wine ratings, wine recommendations > Drink Local: Texas, Georgia, Walmart

Drink Local: Texas, Georgia, Walmart

Whenever I travel, whether for work or leisure, I always love to try local wines – adding an occasional winery visit is a cherry on top, for sure.

Drinking local had been a habit for a long time (here are some posts if you are interested in my past discoveries), and I have to say that more often than not, the curiosity is rewarded handsomely, with tasty, unique and different wine discoveries.

At the end of June, I was in Texas, and of course, I wanted to taste the local wines. I didn’t have time to visit a supermarket, so to my delight, I found a full line of Texas wines at the happy hour at the Residence Inn hotel where I was staying. All the wines where from the winery called Messina Hof, which, according to the website, is a very prolific producer, offering 70 different wines – well, everything is bigger in Texas, right? Here is what I had an opportunity to try:

Messina Hof Red Wines

2017 Messina Hof GSM Texas (14%ABV, 52% Syrah, 35% Mourvedre, 13% Grenache) – earthy aromas, cherries, good acidity, tart blackberries, good structure, excellent overall. 8-

2016 Messina Hof Reflections of Love Private Reserve Texas  (13.5% ABV, Merlot based blend?)
Touch of eucalyptus and dark fruit on the nose
Perfectly clean, varietals correct Bordeaux with cassis, well integrated tannins, crisp structure, excellent overall. 8

2016 Messina Hof Pinot Noir Private Reserve Texas (13.5% ABV) cherries on the nose, good cherries and and plums on the palate, well integrated, well balanced, medium plus weight, round, smooth. Not necessarily a traditional Pinot Noir rendition, but well enjoyable. 7+.

The only supermarket I managed to find the time to visit while in Texas was the one at Walmart. There was no Texas wine there (sad, but rather expected), but I couldn’t leave empty-handed, couldn’t I? I settled on two wines, both of which I picked solely on the basis of a cool label (yes, sorry, you can make as much fun of me as you want – I did like that critter label with the duck) and the price. I have to tell you that I actually got lucky, and ended up with two very decent wines:

NV Lucky Duck Shiraz South Eastern Australia (13% ABV, $3.99) – yes, simple, but very clean and nicely balanced. Good but not overbearing amount of red and black fruit, good acidity, warm spices. Medium body. Pleasant and easy to drink, outstanding QPR. 7+

2016 Prophecy Sauvignon Blanc Marlboro (12.5% ABV, $8.99) – unquestionably a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, while surprisingly restrained. Fresh, Crisp, cassis undertones, touch of tropical fruit and fresh cut grass, Meyer lemon notes, clean acidity. Excellent QPR. 8-

At the end of July, I had an opportunity to spend a weekend in Atlanta. I didn’t have much time, but still managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the local Total Wines, which, to my delight, carried the selection of the local wines:

Local Selection at Total Wines Marietta

Local Selection at Total Wines Marietta

Local Selection at Total Wines Marietta

Many of the wines were either fruit wines or pointedly sweet wines, however, I managed to find the Château Élan wines, which promised to be dry, and were priced in the category I consider “reasonable” (at $19.99). Here are the notes for the wines I got:

2015 Château Élan American Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Georgia (13% ABV, $19.99)
Light golden
Touch of gunflint on the nose, herbal profile
Very unique and different on the palate compare to most of the Sauvignon Blanc wines. Green apple, tart lemon acidity, clean, fresh.
8-, more reminiscent of Chardonnay than Sauvignon Blanc – well drinkable and delicious overall.

2016 Château Élan American Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Georgia (14.5% ABV, $19.99)
Dark garnet, almost black
Classic Cabernet all around – nose is open and inviting, with a touch of casis and mint
same on the palate – dark fruit, cassis, fresh cherries, medium+ body, soft tannins, good acidity and overall good balance.
8-, very quaffable

I wish I had an extra few hours to visit the winery, which I understand is located about an hour away from Atlanta, but this will have to wait until the next visit. In any case, I get to update my “wines of 50 United States” page with one more check-mark :).

That’s all I have for you, my friends. Any local discoveries you want to share? Cheers!

  1. August 28, 2018 at 1:49 am

    It’s a fine thing to experience the local wines when travelling Anatoli! I haven’t ever seen those 2 wines from my side of the world before… perhaps only exported? Will have to search for them online. Local wines here in Canberra have come such a long way in the past 10 years. If you ever come across a Clonakilla Shiraz, a Nick O’Leary Riesling, or an Eden Road Pinot Noir, definitely give them a try! Better still, come and try them sometime at the source! 🙂 I will keep badgering you, until you do! 😉

    • August 28, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Dear Margot, Australia is squarely on the bucket list – if I will have the slightest opportunity, I will be there 🙂 And thanks for the pointers – I will definitely look for them. There will be a big Australian wine trade tasting in New York in September which I’m planning to attend, so I’m looking forward to tasting lots of Australian wines at once.

  2. September 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Anatoli, I am with you, though I do not travel as much as you do, I am trying to taste more local wines, because it is fun. As for labels, I have been collecting them for decades, just because. Wine is to be enjoyed.

    • September 3, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      With local wines, there is always an opportunity for an unexpected surprise! Yes, I know about your labels collection, John. I have about 12 or more journals myself 🙂

      • September 11, 2018 at 5:18 pm

        Anatoli, I have to get cracking, as I have about four boxes of labels that need to be mounted. – John

        • September 13, 2018 at 7:45 pm

          Wow. That’s a lot. You better get to work , John 🙂

        • September 14, 2018 at 6:57 pm

          All in the name of research.

        • September 14, 2018 at 7:57 pm


  3. September 5, 2018 at 10:29 am

    I am always pleasantly surprised at the products that I find at Walmart. Recently I found some Blood Orange Bitters that were delightful in a fresh peach infused vodka cocktail. Cheers to you for supporting local too!

    • September 5, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Love everything “local”. When it comes to the Walmart, some items can be found there, but generally the selection leaves lots to be desired. Texas is second biggest wine producer in the USA, but the local Texas Walmart didn’t carry any of the Texas wines – not really good. I was simply lucky that I found anything drinkable there…

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