Brennan Vineyards

Brennan Vineyards is one of the best kept secrets in Texas winedom. It is located in Comanche about two hours north of Fredericksburg and an hour and a half southwest of Fort Worth. Most of the wines are sold either at the winery or at The Texas Wine Collective, formerly 4.0, which is the unified tasting room, wine club and brand of Texas wine pioneers Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery and McPherson Cellars.

Dr. Pat and Trellise Brennan.

Begun in 2001 by Trellise and Dr. Pat Brennan, this was the first Texas winery to win a Double Gold for Texas appellation wines at the 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition, and the first-ever winery to receive the International Judges’ Selection for “Top Texas White” and “Top Texas Red” at the nationally-known TEXSOM Competition in 2017.

The tasting room in Comanche is ensconced in the historic McCrary House built in the 1800s.  The wines are first-class, and the staff is off-the-charts knowledgeable, charming and inviting. Under “Reviews” on the Brennan Vineyards website, almost every review is 5 stars with an average 4.8 stars out of 5!  It is one of the best tasting experience ever – from personal knowledge!

Todd Webster is the winemaker whose skills, along with his well-trained team, are mostly credited with the high quality of the wines.  Starting with the 2021 vintage, things could actually get better!  Brennan Vineyards has hired as a consulting winemaker, Jean Hoeflinger, an iconic winemaker with experience in California, Bordeaux, Italy and even South Africa.  In his career, Hoeflinger has received several 100-point scores from Robert Parker and numerous 95+ scores from Parker, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast.  He will join Webster and the team several times a year pre-harvest, at harvest and during blending. I predict many Golds, Double Golds and “Top Wines” from Brennan Vineyards in the future.

The manager of the Texas Wine Collective in Fredericksburg is Dave Bryant. This is one of the best tasting experiences along the “Wine Road 290,” which is now the second-most-traveled wine road in the United States. In addition to the wines of Brennan Vineyards, a visitor can taste the wines of Live Oak Winery and McPherson Cellars, along with a wide variety of Texas foods, including excellent cheeses, olive oils and chocolates.

I got hooked on Brennan wines when I tasted one of their first Viogniers years ago. It was competitive with just about anything I had experienced in France’s Rhone Valley and was certainly the best Viognier in Texas. It received such a high award at the Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition it was awarded one of the very few gorgeous western saddles adorned with sterling silver buckles that now sits comfortably in their tasting room. The second Brennan wine that blew me away was the best Texas Tempranillo I had experienced at that time – about 10 years ago.

Along with every vintage of Viognier and Tempranillo, the wines I have recently tasted and recommend are: Roussanne 2018 at $16; Lilly (white made primarily with Roussanne) at $16; Winemaker’s Choice Volume VI (non-vintage red blend) at $42; Reserve Graciano 2018 at $46 and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at $48.

While visiting the Hill Country Wine Trail along highway 290, the Texas Wine Collective is highly recommended.  And, it is definitely worthwhile, if possible, to visit Brennan Vineyards in Comanche. Be sure and call ahead regarding operating hours, and if you are a large group, I recommend reservations.