Photo credits: lead photo – VintageTexas; other photos – Pedernales Cellars
Well, here we are in Texas, it’s barely mid-June and it’s already in the 100s. All I can think of right now is to break out the summertime wines. I’m reaching for something light and fresh with a bit of sparkle… Pedernales Cellars 2020 Kyla. Pouring a glass, it’s definitely time to chill out!
Kyla (pronounced, “shoola”) means “chill” in the native tongue of sister-brother co-owners Julie and David Kuhlken’s Swedish relatives. It’s a Pétillant Naturel, or Pet-Nat for short. You can also refer to it as méthode ancestrale or ancestral method because it is the ancient way of making sparkling wines that pre-dates méthode Champenoise used in Champagne and many modern sparkling wines. Pet-Nat wines involve bottling wines in primary fermentation to trap carbon dioxide gas in the bottle, creating a gentle carbonation. By comparison, Champagne is carbonated by a second fermentation, after bottling the still wine with a dosage of yeast and sugar. Pet-Nat therefore is unaged and unfined and yields a wine that harkens back to it’s ancient winemaking heritage.
In this case, the Pedernales Cellars 2020 Kyla is made from Texas Hill Country Tempranillo and yields a salmon to almost peachy color with an invitingly fine sparkle in the glass. Some Pet-Nats can be a bit unruly during opening with a geyser-like disgorgement when the bottle is opened. This one, if well chilled, is much more friendly with only a short hiss and gentle streams of bubbles inside the bottle and, once poured, in the glass.
Pedernales Cellars began with Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, Julie’s and David’s parents, who planted their first vineyard near Fredericksburg in the early 1990s. Over time, the Kuhlken vineyard started producing consistently high quality fruit. In 2005, Larry and Jeanine’s children, David and Julie began plans for what would become Pedernales Cellars. Grown from the success of Kuhlken Vineyards, they developed the concept for a boutique winery focused on handcrafted, small-lot wines, and working with Southern European and Iberian grape varieties that thrive in the rugged Texas terrain from both the Texas Hill Country and the Texas High Plains AVAs.
The 2020 Kyla freely expresses tart cherry and citrus notes along side yeasty nuances of baked bread common to many wines made by the Pet-Nat process. The tactile feel of this wine’s effervescence on the palate combines with its flavors and lean 11.5% alcohol to provide the imbiber with an immediate internal cool down and mental chill out, so much needed with our hot summer weather.
One of the added fringe benefits of this tasting stop at Pedernales Cellars is the ambiance of the Pedernales Cellars winery and surrounding Texas Hill Country property. The Kuhlken’s are good stewards of the land.
By removing cedar overgrowth and invasive plant species around their winery, they have provided a scenic and inviting venue where visitors can relax and enjoy their wines. Looking out onto the land from the deck or tasting room, you see a natural environment that provides habitat for the native Hill Country wildlife and is inviting for winery visitors.
Click here for more information on Pedernales Cellars, its story, its estate vineyard and wines.
T (830) 644-8186