Award-winning Texas winery honors Italian heritage with 2 new vintages
Texas winery Messina Hof is putting family first. The Bryan-based winemaker, which also operates a winery in Fredericksburg, has introduced its Bonarrigo Family Wines collection — a tribute to its owners’ seven generations of wine making in Sicily and America.
“Our motto as a company is ‘join the family,’” says Messina Hof CEO and head winemaker Paul Bonarrigo. “This is a little piece of our heart and something that’s very special.”
In keeping with the family’s Italian heritage, the Bonarrigo Family Wines collection consists of two vintages — the 2018 Heritage Select dry white wine blend ($25) and the 2018 Heritage Reserve dry red wine blend ($40) — made with Italian-style varietals grown in the Texas High Plains near Lubbock.
Both wines are now available online via Messina Hof’s website or at the company’s wineries in Fredericksburg, Bryan, and Grapevine. (The wineries tasting rooms are currently closed, but curbside pickup is available).
“For those who aren’t aware, that is the premier growing region of Texas,” Bonarrigo says. “Lots of grapes are grown up there, and the quality is tremendous: lots of elevation, good water quality, obviously lots of great sunlight, so you get these great ripe flavors in the wine.”
The Heritage Reserve blends 55-percent Sagrantino, 30-percent Primitivo, and 15-percent Sangiovese. It’s aged in a mix of French and American oak barrels then bottle-aged for an additional six months. Sagrantino gives the wine tannins, while drinkers should note dark fruit from from the Primitivo and earthy notes from the Sangiovese.
“When we did our dinner last weekend, we paired it with osso bucco and it was exceptional,” Bonarrigo says. “Just about any Italian dish would go great.”
The Heritage Select blends 83-percent Pinot Grigio grapes and 17-percent Trebbiano, giving it a mixture of citrus, floral, and tropical fruit notes. Recommended pairings include chicken, seafood, or pasta dishes such as lemon risotto.
“Ultimately, looking at Italian-style wine, food is a big piece of that culture and our family,” the winemaker says. “Making wines that are geared toward the dining room table is exactly what we’re trying to achieve.”
Meanwhile, work continues on the company’s newest winery: a Houston-area facility in Richmond’s Harvest Green community. Currently, the company expects the winery to open in November.
In total, Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery and Kitchen will feature over two acres of vineyards that could yield production of approximately 400 cases of wine per year. Visitors will be able to taste wine from the barrel or tank as well as try their hand at blending.
“We’re very excited about it,” Bonarrigo says. “This is another project that has been in the works a long time. To see it coming together with the walls going up is really exciting.”