The black-on-black label of Texas-based C.L. Butaud is as hard to miss as is it is to read. I channeled my inner Johnny Cash to taste this pair of recent releases.
2020 C.L. Butaud Cease & Desist Red Blend Texas High Plains – A tempranillo-heavy blend with cinsault, grenache, and counoise added (if I’m reading the website right, the blend seems to change constantly). This tastes like Texas, in all the best ways: Densely fruity with notes of currants and spiced cherries, impregnated with bacon fat, drying hay, and woodsy but sweet mesquite. Heavy on the palate, this feels even weightier than its 14.1% abv, driven likely by the beefy cinsault and counoise in the mix. Tart on the finish, this is one of the few red wines I could see pairing with a classic plate of Texas barbeque, the wine living to tell the tale. B / $48
2019 C.L. Butaud Tempranillo Texas High Plains – 100% tempranillo, and shockingly, much brighter and more approachable. Notes of spiced cherries and milk chocolate melt into one another in a lively, gently acidic wine that winds its way toward a slightly herbal but lightly sweet finish. Deftly balanced and tough to put down, it’s one of the best Texas wines I’ve encountered in recent memory. A- / $54