Vines streamlining upward
The Tulsa Deco lineup continues to impress and improve with age.
Jan and Chris Girouard of Girouard Vines produce the Tulsa Deco label of award-winning wines named for Tulsa’s Art Deco history.
The Tulsa Deco wines of Girouard Vines, operated by Chris and Jan Girouard, are entering a new phase.
Jan has recently taken over the daily operation of the winery, while Chris returned to the oil business on the management team of RedFork Energy.
“Jan’s doing more bottling today than I ever did,” Chris says. “We built up Tulsa Deco wines from a tiny bottling operation to a very sizable operation. In fact, we often sell out of our wines, like our current Chardonnay release, and have to engage in a second or third bottling to meet ongoing Tulsa demand.”
Girouard Vines is known as an urban winery because it lies in the heart of downtown Tulsa on Third Street and Lansing Avenue. Chris started the winery in 2007 to bring to market the Oklahoma-grown hybrid grapes developed by his father, George Girouard. With the hybrid phase still in testing in Oklahoma, Girouard Vines is presently using grapes from Heringer Estates Vineyard in California and bottling its wines in Tulsa.
Chris continues to be involved with the wine-making and overall operations. As a team, Chris and Jan work hard to make Tulsa proud.
The six Tulsa Deco wines repeatedly sell out for one reason — they are spectacular wines that have won multiple awards. Most recently, they received four medals in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in New York. They are dynamite, approachable-in-their-youth wines.
And each has a Tulsa moniker. The Sauvignon Blanc is named after the historic Warehouse Market on 11th Street and Elgin Avenue, the Chardonnay after the downtown Atlas Life Building and Westhope Cabernet Sauvignon honors the Westhope residence that is Tulsa’s only Frank Lloyd Wright structure. Spotlight Merlot is named for the Spotlight Theatre on Riverside Drive.
The most popular of the Tulsa Deco group is Fire Alarm Red, which gives a nod to the Public Works Fire Alarm building on Eighth Street west of Peoria Avenue. One of the newest wines in the series, the Streamline Cabernet Franc, is called Boulder on the Park, recalling the classic Tulsa architectural inheritance from the Streamline style of the Art Deco movement.
The wines are available locally at many restaurants and liquor stores. Additionally, on Thursday nights the winery hosts a public wine tasting from 5-8 p.m., and wines can be purchased by the glass or bottle. Girouard Vines is located at 817 E. Third St. in the East Village District of downtown Tulsa.
Sips at home
Tulsa Deco 2010 Atlas Life Chardonnay — $17.99
I almost titled this “liquid god,” and indeed, such a top-notch Chard at this price could be placed in that category. It is rich, smooth, refreshing and laced with layers of baked apples, pears and Meyer lemon joined with buttery hints from its malolactic fermentation. It’s a deco delight.
Don’t put this fire out
Tulsa Deco 2010 Fire Alarm Red Petite Sirah — $18.99
Girouard Vine’s top-selling wine, this lush, spicy, jammy red wine is mainly Petite Sirah with a kiss of Cabernet Sauvignon to add a little complexity. It’s a fruit bomb with pronounced tannins that make this a great addition to hearty meals from grilled steak to smoked brisket.
Tulsa Deco 2009 Streamline Cabernet Franc — $22.99
The newest in the Tulsa Deco lineup, sales for this wine have soared since its introduction in 2009. It’s almost a cross between the Westhope Cabernet and the Fire Alarm Red. Rich, ripe red and black fruit dance the line with hints of pepper and violets joining in. It’s Cab Franc at its best, and it’s made right here in Tulsa.