Pedernales Cellars Vermentino and Viognier: Found on My Mediterranean Isle of Texas – Update
I recently sat down to taste two new white wines from the 2014 vintage, both from Pedernales Cellars. This winery has been long known for their Viognier and expectations were high. After all, Pedernales Cellars has been a winner at the top levels of the wine world, both in Texas and abroad. In 2013, it was a Pedernales Cellars Viognier garnering Top Texas Wine in the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Wine Competition and their Reserve Viognier brought home a Grand Gold at the Lyon International Wine Competition.
The other wine from Pedernales Cellars was a Vermentino, new to them but hardly a stranger in Texas thanks to noteworthy achievements with this grape by another Texas winery. None other than international wine luminary Oz Clarke has also heralded Vermentino as the white grape for Texas.
Pedernales Cellars 2014 Viognier was like sipping an elegant fruit cocktail, not the canned variety, rather something worthy of a Wolfgang Puck creation. It had prominent, aromatic notes; peach, pear and a mélange of tropical fruits, crisp acidity on the palate, and finishing with electrifying lemon citrus.
Pedernales Cellars 2014 Vermentino gave ripe Meyer lemon citrus followed by racy lemon zest that was enhanced by herbal notes of thyme and a finish that brings up the minerally limestone character of it’s new found Texas home.
As I tasted both these pleasing Pedernales Cellars wines with Mediterranean heritages, Vermentino from Sardinia and Italian coast, Viognier from southern France, my mind slipped into a bit of whimsical muse. As I tasted, I imagined Texas as an island, yet a rather large one, afloat in the Mediterranean Sea. After a few more sips and time to consider further, this thought did seem a bit preposterous and gave me a chuckle. I realized that the sea’s largest span was the Ionian Basin only 500 miles across.
Alas, not enough to fit our young but up-and-coming wine producing “island” state. Drink on!
For the Rest of the Story – Notes from Pedernales Winemaker David Kuhlken
This Pedernales Viognier was made with grapes from the Bingham Vineyards on the Texas High Plains using limited skin contact, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks. A small portion of the wine underwent secondary malolactic fermentation adding mouth-feel and complexity. Before bottling the wine was fined and then filtered.
The Pedernales Vermentino was also made with limited skin contact, cool fermentation (small portion with malolactic fermenation) and fined/filtered starting with grapes from Andy Timmons’ Lost Draw Vineyard on the Texas High Plains.
It is important to note that 2014 vintage was important after the major loss of the 2013 High Plains crop to spring freezes. In 2014, there were again spring freezes on the High Plains. However Lost Draw Vineyards led the way in adding freeze protection systems and showed proof that such systems can really work in Texas. The season was slightly wetter and cooler than the previous seasons and has helped to create an exciting vintage with rich fruit.