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Joanna Wilczoch
March 28, 2022 | Blog | Joanna Wilczoch

Introducing Singular Excellence with Single Vineyard Tempranillo

We love blending to create finished wines. That is where our winemaking team really shows off their talent. Pedernales Cellars typically release seven to ten red blends each vintage, such as our Rhône-style GSM Mélange and our Family Reserve. Even many of our varietal wines involve blending. In our Texas High Plains Tempranillo, we blend in grapes such as Mourvèdre and Syrah, and in our Texas Tempranillo Reserve, Touriga Nacional, and Graciano.

We have something new up our sleeves for the current vintage. We are bottling five single-vineyard Tempranillos that showcase the expressiveness of the fruit from specific locations. The crazy growing conditions and scarcity of fruit from some of our vineyards in 2020 had a silver lining. The reality that we had very little quantities of some of the grapes that we normally blend, such as Graciano, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, led us to pursue new sources of grapes to make wines with 100 percent Tempranillo. We had the opportunity to secure incredibly high-quality Tempranillo from various growers around the state that were new to us, such as Tab Daniel, Canted County, and Pepper Jack. We’re incredibly excited to share the results with you.

This year we will bottle five vineyard-designated Tempranillos, in addition to our Texas Tempranillo and the Reserve Tempranillo.   

2020 Daniel Vineyard Tempranillo

We were fortunate to connect with Tab Daniel, a vineyard owner whose young site lies within the Lubbock city limits. While it is located in the Texas High Plains, it bears little resemblance to the large vineyards in the area as it is surrounded by a suburban community rather than cotton fields. The well-managed five acres of meticulously maintained vines produced intense Tempranillo fruit. We cold soaked the grapes for an extended period, which helps bring out a darker, more robust color and boosts the flavor and tannin. The result is a wine with floral notes, dark fruit, and big juicy fruit flavors, as well as firm tannin structure. It was aged in neutral American oak barrels. We just bottled this wine, and it will be released in 2023.

2021 Daniel Vineyard Joven Tempranillo

During a recent trip to the Rioja wine region of Spain, I was inspired by tasting incredible Joven, or “young” wine at a Michelin Star restaurant that was incredibly refreshing with my meal. The fruity wine was much like Beaujolais meets Tempranillo. Our new Daniel Vineyard Joven Tempranillo started off with a very similar profile to a Joven Rioja and emulates that exquisite wine that I enjoyed in Spain, so we decided to release it as a young wine with minimal aging in neutral American oak barrels. It is bounding with fruit flavors and has great structure, even without a lot of oak tannin. Tempranillo bottle-ages well, so it will be fun to see how this wine, spending a short time in the barrel, will age in the bottle. 

2020 Lahey Vineyards Tempranillo

We have long sourced fruit from Lahey Vineyards in Brownfield, Texas to blend into our Texas High Plains Tempranillo as well as use as a single vineyard Graciano for our Signature Series. It is the largest vineyard in Texas and is an important partner for Pedernales Cellars. However, this is the first time we have released it as a single vineyard Tempranillo. We chose to blend in a smidge of Alicante Bouschet, Cinsault, and Graciano all from Lahey Vineyards. We’re really happy we did. The nose on this wine is incredible, followed by rich black fruit flavors and plenty of tannin, making it optimal for aging. The wine was aged in second and third use American oak barrels, giving it a touch of oak influence.

2020 Canted County Vineyards Tempranillo Reserva

My trip to Spain also influenced how we are making this beautiful Tempranillo with grapes grown in the Canted County Vineyards located in Lomesa, Texas. We are following the Spanish rules for a Reserva Tempranillo, which requires the wine to be aged for a minimum of three years with at least one year in casks. We harvested two different clones of Tempranillo at high brix (grape sugar content), leading to a bold wine. It has a big, jammy nose with rich flavors of black cherry, concentrated red cherry, cocoa, and vanilla, with a complex finish and a bit of smoke. It was aged in a combination of new and second-use American oak barrels.

2020 Canted County Vineyards Tempranillo Gran Reserva

In our continued homage to the Spanish traditions of Tempranillo aging, we are creating a Gran Reserva with Canted County fruit which requires the wine have spent at least two years in oak casks and three years in the bottle. The tannin in this wine is firm and expressive. At bottling, we chose to hold back some of this wine to re-barrel it and further age it in French oak barrels, where it will rest until Fall 2022. We will then bottle it in Winter 2023 and will release it in Fall of 2025. The fruit flavors are so big on this wine that we expect the flavor to still be fresh, but with mellower tannins. It will be super fun to taste this side-by-side with the Reserva, so don’t forget to cellar a couple bottles of it to open when we release the Gran Reserva.

Taste the Terroir

It has been exciting to create these wines that express a sense of place from each of these distinctly different vineyard sites. Marrying the Spanish traditions of aging Tempranillo with vineyard-specific Texas terroir is bringing new styles to our Tempranillo family. We just started bottling these wines in March 2022 and we can’t wait for you to taste them as we begin releasing them later this year and into 2025.  


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