Pedernales Cellars: Texas Wine Riding a Wave of Success
On a damp hazy summer morning, I trekked out from our hill country cottage and was between Johnson City and Fredericksburg on a road that’s taken the moniker – The Wine Road. Like the now famous Route 29 going through the heart of California’s Napa Valley, Fredericksburg’s Wine Road 290 has become the main artery to some of the Texas Hill Country’s best wineries. Some are long standing stalwarts in the world of Texas wine, but many are relatively new to the scene like William Chris Vineyards, Hilmy Cellars, and my intended stop, Pedernales Cellars.
Since I was on the stretch of Route 290 near Stonewall, I decided to make a short-notice stop at Pedernales Cellars where I caught my first glimpse of the expanded and spacious winery tasting room with a little time to spend tasting from bottle and barrel with Winemaker, David Kuhlken.
This visit came not too long after the “wine-a-palooza” public tasting that I moderated at the Austin Food and Wine Festival this past April. The panelists were rounded out by two Texas Master Sommeliers, Food & Wine Magazine’s Executive Wine Editor, Ray Isle, and we had about 100 people tasting really fine Texas wines at 11:00 am on a Sunday morning. It was an event that I still savor (click here for more) and it was obvious that the Pedernales Cellars 2009 Tempranillo was an attention getter.
Frankly, my Pedernales winery stop was to get another taste of their Tempranillo that wowed the Austin crowd (as well as the judges at the 2012 Dallas Morning News Texsom International Wine Competition that gave it a gold medal) and find out a little more about it. However, from literally the first pour after arriving at Pedernales Cellars, the wine that caught my attention was the Pedernales Cellars Viognier (another stellar performance) with its impressive varietal character, heady aromatic charm and tropical fruit qualities.
Since then, I’ve had a chance to taste both the 2011 Viognier again, it’s “bigger brother” the 2011 Reserve Viognier and a new addition to the Pedernales Cellars wine line up: their 2011 Albariño. All were spot on, well-made wines.
This wine is the expression of clear, clean fruit character concentrated by the sun, heat and arid conditions that we all remember from last summer. Cold fermentation in stainless tanks (no oak) provides penetrating citrus, peach and tropical pineapple and mango notes. It’s a bit high on the alcohol (for me), but balanced well with intense fruit character from grapes grown at the Bingham and Reddy vineyards well placed on the Texas high plains near Lubbock. Pair with light to medium fish (Dover sole) or chicken dishes.
Pedernales Cellars 2011 Texas Viognier Reserve
Complex notes of concentrated apricot, tropical fruit and vanilla are the first impressions conveyed by this wine. It’s Texas Viognier kicked up a notch, integrated with just enough French oak aging to soften a bit of the dominant fruit (from Bingham and Reddy vineyards) and provide an extra dollop of density and mouthfeel that also works well with the wine’s elevated alcohol level. Pair with medium to full flavored preparations with fish (salmon), chicken or light game birds
Pedernales Cellars 2011 Texas Albariño
This wine was a surprise. Not many of us have had real Spanish Albariño, but if you have, you will find pleasant similarities and unexpected differences. This grape variety is a bit less in your face than Viognier and this presented a wonderful ripe peach character, full and lingering flavor with light aromatics. This is new grape variety and wine for Texas and I hope that we will welcome it stay awhile. It was made from grapes primarily from historic and long standing Newsom Vineyards (Plains, TX) on the Texas high plains. Pair with lighter flavored dishes and also excellent with an assortment of cheeses.
This year, the accolades have been rolling in for the wines from Pedernales Cellars lead by the showing of their Tempranillo and Viognier, two high performing grape varieties for this winery and in Texas:
SUNSET INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION – The Pedernales Cellars 2011 Viognier received a gold medal at this competition.
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION – The Pedernales Cellars 2011 Viognier received a gold medal at this internationally-known, well-regarded festival.
LONE STAR INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION – Pedernales Tempranillo Reserve won a gold medal and they received silver medals for their Viognier and Viognier Reserve.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS/TEXSOM WINE COMPETITION – The Pedernales Cellars 2009 Tempranillo won a gold medal at this competition.
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To get a taste of the fine wines from Pedernales Cellars (and many more), make plans to attend the Texsom 2012 Grand Tasting on Monday evening, August 13th, 2012 (click here for details):
- 2009 Pedernales Cellars Texas Tempranillo Texas Hill Country
- 2010 Pedernales Cellars Texas “GSM” Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre Texas High Plains
- 2010 Pedernales Cellars Muscat Canelli Texas High Plains
- 2011 Pedernales Cellars Reddy and Bingham Vineyard Texas Viogner Texas High Plains
For more information on Pedernales Cellars, The 290 Texas Wine Trail and other Texas Hill Country wineries, go to: