Cooking to the Wine: Duchman Family Winery Texas Aglianico with Instant Pot Brisket

I’ve only been to Texas once. We went to a friends' wedding in Marfa, a town in way, way, way, West Texas.

Such a spectacular setting for a wedding!

At the time, I didn’t know anything about the town, but art lovers will know it as a famous art destination. It’s the home of notable artistic sites like the Chinati Foundation and Prada Marfa

Untitled concrete works by Donald Judd at the Chinati Foundation.
If I had preconceived expectations of the trip, they were shattered. Everyone local we spoke to seemed to have at least three jobs; those they had to make money, and then art(s) they practiced. The town is almost an art installation in itself and almost seemed out of time. 

For me it also reflected a romantic ideal of “Texasness,” even if it’s extremely different (to my understanding) from many other places in modern Texas. This might be why it’s been used as a filming location for movies like There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. That and the dramatic, expansive vistas. 

I was sent a couple of samples by
Texas Fine Wines from Duchman Family Winery for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend (#WinePW) event celebrating Texas wine. The winery is located near Austin, which isn’t  really near Marfa at all, but in a weird way, drinking these bottles kind of reminded me of that trip: whatever I was expecting of these wines, they weren’t it. I’ve had wines from Texas before –some good, some bad– but most of them have been on the big, intense side. These wines had fruit that reflected the warm climate, but they weren’t over-the-top intense. They were elegant, and yet also spoke of the rustic terroir. This is particularly true perhaps the Aglianico I received, which I’ll be focusing on today.

But before we get to the wine, let’s talk about Texas wine country. You might be thinking, they make wine in Texas?!” – yeah, actually they make wine in all 50 states. Texas actually is the 5th in the US in terms of production, and its history dates back to the mid 1600’s when wine was made here by Franciscan priests.

Apparently, the entire wine drinking world today owes a collective debt of gratitude to a Texan. In the late 1800’s T.V. Munson of Denison, Texas established a vineyard in which he conducted research, experimented, bred vines, and also had a commercial nursery. He had one of the greatest private plant breeding programs ever developed. Here, he was able to make his most important contribution to the wine world.

Just at this time, Europe’s vineyards were being decimated by phylloxera. T.V. worked with the French wine industry to develop the phylloxera resistant rootstocks that would save the industry. Once they figured out that the problem was due to a pesky insect, and that American rootstocks were resistant, the work of grafting vitis vinifera vines onto resistant rootstocks occurred here. Munson organized dozens of workers and land owners to collect dormant cuttings for shipment to southern France. These vines became the breeding stock for the rootstocks that saved Europe’s industry!

Map borrowed from this site.

Today, Texas is home to over 400 wineries and over
4,550 acres planted under vine. It has eight AVA’s, the largest of which is the Texas Hill Country. It has two sub-regions, Bell Mountain and Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country. The others are Escondido Valley, Mesilla Valley, Texas Davis Mountains, Texas High Plains, and Texoma.




Duchman Family Winery is located in the Texas Hill Country, but sources most of its fruit from the Texas High Plains AVA, where temperatures are a bit cooler. This area is generally developing a reputation as one of Texas' best areas for fine wine. The winery was founded in 2004 by Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman. They love Italian grape varieties and saw similarities between the climate and weather patterns of parts of Italy and parts of Texas, in particular the Texas High Plains. They hired a viticultural consultant, Bobby Cox, and winemakers, Dave Reilly (current head winemaker) and Mark Penna, to make the dream a reality.

Today, we’re looking the Duchman Family Winery Aglianico Oswald Vineyard 2015. Aglianico is grape from southern Italy that tends to make really big, bold wines that are high in tannin and acid. We’ve explored Aglianico from its home country before on the blog, so invite you check that out here.

(BTW: If you’re wondering how to pronounce it, listen in here.)

The choice to plant Aglianico in Texas makes a lot of sense to me, since it’s a grape that likes to be warm and dry. I expected deep, dark juice to pour out when we opened the bottle, much like what I’m used to from Italy; instead it was considerably lighter and more translucent in the glass than I thought it’d be. I was intrigued. 

Disclosure: While these wines were provided as media samples, all opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Greg and I picked up notes of dusty cherries, warm earth, pomegranate, orange rind and flowers on the nose. We got similar notes on the palate, along with bramble, dried herbs, cola, cloves, and quite a bit of earthiness that was kind of silty with a mix of sand and stones. On the palate the cherries were somewhat dried, and Greg also picked up on some dried apricot notes, which clicked for me once he said it. It had medium, but perceptible acidity, and medium, chalky tannins. The wine is high in alcohol, but didn’t feel overpowering — it felt more medium bodied, although it rounded out and felt fuller once it had gotten some air. Besides the earthy notes, there was also a good amount of delicacy and finesse to the wine.

Given that we were having a wine from Texas, I thought it’d be fun to make a brisket. After tasting the wine though, we decided that my normal ideas brisket didn’t seem quite right. (Maybe if I had a smoker  . . .) This wine was talking of Texas and Italy, mixing a little of both, and still kind of doing its own thing.

I decided to make the brisket in our Instant Pot, for easier weeknight cooking. I found this recipe on the Spruce Eats, which served as a blueprint, but then I applied flavors we thought would work after tasting the wine.  I also served us some roasted vegetable and salad on the side.

The result was fantastic. Greg thought the tannin came out to play a little more in the match, but in a good way. I thought the combo teased out more savory tobacco and herb notes in the wine. Altogether, it was a pretty seamless combo. Bonus, the brisket leftovers are delicious in lots of different ways!

I also received a bottle of Roussanne from Duchman, which I also really enjoyed, and shared in a pairing with Chicken with Lemon and Leeks on Nibbling Gypsy.


Look for medium to full bodied red wines with a balance of fruit and earthiness to pair with this dish. I’m thinking Barbara or Temporarily might make other good options.

I think this wine would be pretty versatile, but keep it savory. It liked the meat, tomatoes, and herbs in this dish.



I couldn’t find a tech sheet, so we’ll keep this short and sweet today. Alcohol is 14.4%.



This bottle is priced at $30 on their website, which I think is a Solid Buy.


Yield: 6 to 8

Italian-Inspired Instant Pot Brisket

Tex-Italian Instant Pot Brisket

prep time: 15 Mcook time: 1 H & 15 Mtotal time: 1 H & 30 M


  • 2 to 2.5 lb brisket
  • 1 Tbsp Wondra flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups stock (beef is ideal, but use what you have)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 or 4 sage leaves, chopped
  • Pinch of clove
  • Pinch of smoked paprika (I used a Smoked Bourbon Paprika, for fun)
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


How to cook Italian-Inspired Instant Pot Brisket

  1. Turn on the Sauté function on your Instant Pot and let it preheat.
  2. Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Lightly dust with flour. (Note: This step is optional, but is just to help developing browning on the meat.) Once the pot is hot, add cooking oil to the bottom of the Instant post. Once the oil is hot, add the meat to the pot, fattier-side first, and sear for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip and sear on the second side for about 3 minutes of the second side. Remove the brisket from the pot and set aside.
  3. Add a little of the stock to the pot to deglaze, making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
  4. Add the rest of the stock, deglazing the pot again, add in the orange juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves, clove, smoked paprika, stir and let it all simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and add additional seasoning as needed. Mix the tablespoon of Wondra flour with ¼ cup of water (or follow package instructions) and add to the sauce.
  5. Add the brisket back to the sauce and nestle it in the sauce. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for one hour, and use a natural pressure release if possible.
  6. Once the pressure has released, carefully remove the brisket and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, switch back to the Sauté function to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken until it has reached a desired consistency. (Note: we served it was a thinner sauce the first night, to better match the weight of the wine, but reduced it more for use with leftovers.)
  7. Slice the brisket against the grain and serve covered in sauce. Store leftovers in the fridge in the sauce.
Created using The Recipes Generator


The rest of the Wine Pairing Weekend group (#WinePW) Group is exploring Texas wines this month. Michelle at Rock in Red Blog arranged for several of us to receive samples – Thanks so much!

Other sources used for this post:  

Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture: A Texas Grape and Wine History 

This post contains affiliate links, including the following Amazon Associate links, from which I might receive a commission at no cost to you.



  1. Thank goodness for the Instant Pot on busy weeknights. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  2. I think we were on a similar page; both had Duchman wines, you went for the Instant Pot and me the slow cooker, and beef ruled with a red Italian wine from Texas. I am looking forward to tasting more wines from Texas!

    1. I noticed that symmetry too! And yes, my interest has definitely been piqued as well. Thanks Jane.

  3. Loved this post: yes, for the wine and yummy food pairing, but especially for the back story and photos of your trip to West Texas. Like most non-Texans, my time in the state has been limited to the Dallas-Austin-Houston circuit. Thanks for giving me a taste of something new!

    1. Thanks Lauren! I actually have always really wanted to check out Austin. It's proximity to the wine areas is now just yet another reason!

  4. I'm 100% buy-in using an instant pot to make the brisket. The Aglianico is a new grape to me and it seems a perfect match with the brisket due to its tannin and bold flavors.

    1. Instant Pots do make things pretty convenient. The match was delicious and Aglianico is a fun grape. This one had a little more delicacy than a lot of others. Thanks Pinny!

  5. What an interesting find! I rarely see Aglianico much less one from Texas. I love your share of the wedding you went to in Texas. It was out there and unique, much like the wine. Nice pairing too with the instant pot! Someday, I'll actually use mine. :)

    1. Thanks Deanna. That's exactly how I saw it. And the instant pot is really good for busy days and moments when you realize you should have started braising hours ago -- which happens to me a lot!

  6. Love that a wine can be both elegant and yet rustic. Great descriptions and enjoyed reading about your visit to Marfa.

  7. Your dishes always look superb and an aglianico from TX?! Loved reading about it and the differences you noted compared to Italian aglianico.

  8. We love Aglianico, which we discovered in... China. Great to see another emerging region going for it. And yay for Instant Pot power!


Thanks so much for leaving your comments and questions. I always love to hear from you!