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Pedernales Cellars

Let's Talk over Drinks

 

Julie Kuhlken
 
January 31, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

Valentine’s Gift Guide: Expressing Love Languages with Wine

Giving gifts for Valentine’s Day has become a traditional way to celebrate our love. People have different ways of expressing and receiving love. We get that. To make things easier for you, here are some Valentine’s gift ideas that fit with the five “love languages.”

Spend “Quality Time” with 2021 Sparkling Vermentino

If your Valentine’s love language is quality time, they feel the most adored when you want to spend time with them. Our newly released Sparkling Vermentino is a fantastic choice to enjoy while hanging out with your partner. Bubbly conversations will flow while you sip this wine. While away the hours savoring the aromas of brioche, lemons, white flowers, and pineapple. Our Sparkling Vermentino is dry with flavors of peach and pear, with a hint of crushed rock minerality in the finish. Pair it with fresh oysters to lengthen your quality time together.  

Perform “Acts of Services” with 2021 Over the Moon Rosé

If your partner’s love language is acts of service, they love it when you go out of your way to make their life easier. It's things like bringing them a lovely glass of rosé that will bring them happiness. Our Over the Moon Rosé is always a good choice for Valentine’s Day because it is inspired by my parents’ love story. Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken met while working for NASA on the Apollo 11 mission and have been together ever since. You can be over the moon in love with this softer style of rosé with delicate aromas and flavors of peach, apricot, pear and rose petals. The palate matches the nose of this medium-bodied wine, with a creamy texture and long finish.

Give the “Gift” of 2017 Malbec  

This seems like a pretty straightforward love language to cover in a Valentine’s Day gift guide. People whose love language is receiving gifts like to be given something that is both physical and meaningful. Our 2017 Malbec fits the bill beautifully. It’s juicy and soft with lovely black cherry, blackberry cobbler, and kirsch notes with hints of cocoa, graphite, and coffee. Consider gifting three bottles so you can enjoy one for Valentine’s Day dinner, one next weekend, and one for the cellar.

Indulge in “Physical Touch” with 2013 Kuhlken-Österberg

Cozy cuddling, holding hands, nuzzling, and kissing are ways people who express their love language with physical touch love language feel loved and appreciated. Physical touch can be incredibly nurturing. Snuggle time calls for a special wine. Cuddle up with the second vintage of our allocated KO wine made with estate-grown fruit. The 2013 KO is a gorgeous wine with aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberry jam, black cherries and hints of spice, along with mouth-filling red fruit flavors complemented by black pepper and a long finish. Only 83 cases of this wine were made and we have a very limited number of bottles left.

Express “Words of Affirmation” with Texas Ruby

People whose love language is words of affirmation value verbal acknowledgments of affection, including frequent "I love you's." This Valentine’s Day, share plenty of compliments, and words of appreciation such as, “I love you so much when you pour me a glass of Pedernales Cellars Texas Ruby.” Or, “Your kisses are as sweet as a sip of Texas Ruby.” You can’t go wrong with pairing a glass of our Texas Ruby and your sweetie for dessert.

Enjoy Valentine's Day with Us!

Join us on Sunday, February 12th to taste each of these five Love Language wines at our Valentine's Pairing. We are excited to celebrate love and friendship by combining our passion for exceptional wine with the beautiful Pedernales views. We are hosting an elevated pairing experience with 100% Texas wines and decadent pairings. Afterward we invite you to purchase wine by the bottle and join us out on the lawn to enjoy the view!

Tasting Menu

  • 2021 Sparkling Vermentino
  • 2021 Over The Moon Rosé paired with White Chocolate Strawberry
  • 2017 Malbec paired with Aged White Cheddar
  • 2013 Kuhlken-Österberg paired with Candied Bacon with Smoked Gouda
  • Texas Ruby Port paired with Dark Chocolate Mousse

Limited seating will be available. Book your reservations online.

We’re glad to be a part of your Valentine’s Day celebration. 

Time Posted: Jan 31, 2023 at 3:20 PM Permalink to Valentine’s Gift Guide: Expressing Love Languages with Wine Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
December 21, 2022 | Julie Kuhlken

Pedernales Cellars Last Minute Gift Recommendations

If you are like me, you have put off a significant portion of your holiday shopping until this week. You might call me a procrastinator. I mean, I didn’t even get a birthmark until I was 10.

Here are four great last-minute gift recommendations for the people on your holiday list.

2019 Vintner’s Reserve for Your Favorite Aunt 

She shared nuggets of wisdom, bought you ice cream before dinner, and was the kind of confidant that only a relative can be. Your favorite aunt deserves a special gift. We created our 2019 Vintner's Reserve as a nontraditional red blend that stands out within our lineup. Our winemakers carefully selected the very best lots of Carignan, Tannat, and Mourvèdre grapes from our most trusted growers to make a wine that is both elegant today, and that will develop luxuriously over time.  

This aromatic wine will impress your favorite aunt with lots of black fruit, blueberries, plum, bramble, earth and cola on the nose. Vintner’s Reserve is a medium-bodied wine with firm tannins with a hint of spice. It is a perfect bottle to share over laughs and knowing glances and it also pairs well with pork dishes, mushroom risotto, and roasted vegetables.

2017 Gran Reserva for Your Friend the Wine Snob

We all have a friend who knows an awful lot about wine. No ordinary bottle will do for this person, so why not give them a special bottle of 2017 Gran Reserva. Following the wine classification system of Rioja, Spain, we made our first Gran Reserva-style wine. This Tempranillo is from an exceptional that spent two years in new American oak and aged for three more years in the bottle before release. The Tempranillo grapes in this wine were sourced from our Kuhlken Estate vineyard in the Texas Hill Country and Lahey Vineyards in the Texas High Plains. Your gift to your wine snob friend is a rarity and a bit of living history. Sadly, the Tempranillo vines in Kuhlken Vineyards no longer exist, but the estate vineyard has been replanted and will soon be producing new Tempranillo fruit.

Our 2017 Gran Reserva will satisfy the most discerning Rioja lover with its rich notes of dried red currants, aged leather, eucalyptus, and bramble. It is a lighter-bodied wine with fine tannins and lively acidity, which makes it an excellent accompaniment to cheeses, roast pork, and lamb.

2018 Cuvee 1853 for the Historian  

Cuvee 1853 commemorates the first year our Kuhlken family ancestors migrated to Texas. Cuvee 1853 is a new blend to Pedernales Cellars. Celebrating family history calls for a beautiful blend that will impress those who appreciate the art of the perfect food and wine pairing. Historians who enjoy the complexities of intertwined timelines will appreciate the complexity of the 2018 Cuvee 1853 made with intertwined grapes.

The 2018 Cuvee 1853 has a solid core of Carignan — which is one of our favorite Rhone red grapes — blended with Syrah (possibly Carignan’s soulmate) and an added smidge of Cabernet Sauvignon for body. This wine unfolds like a memoir of the joys of black cherries and blackberries, bramble, spice, coffee, and a stony minerality. It is medium-bodied with savory leather, cedar notes, and a cocoa finish that lasts for ages. Serve it while wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches.

Texas Ruby for Your Teacher

Teaching is one of the most essential professions in our society. From kindergarten to grad school, the people who dedicate themselves to instilling knowledge in our youth are invaluable. Our Texas Ruby with its richness, age-worthiness, and sweetness is a suitable gift for the person who is responsible for important aspects of your child’s learning.

Our Texas Ruby port-style dessert wine is inspired by the iconic fortified wines of Portugal. The grapes for it are grown in our family Kuhlken Vineyard in the Hill Country. We grow Portuguese grape varietals in Block 2 of the vineyard which makes the base wine. Our family vineyard, in its 27th year of growing, has been the source for many of our past award-winning wines and continues to produce some of the best fruit in the state. This wine is best served with sweet stories of classroom excellence.

The Pedernales Cellars Estate Tasting Room is open through December 23rd at 3:00 pm for last-minute holiday shopping, and we reopen for normal hours on December 26 for all of your New Year’s Eve needs. We’re located in Stonewall, Texas, a short drive from Austin, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, and San Antonio. Treat yourself to a glass of wine while you pick up bottles or cases of wine to fill Santa’s sleigh.  

Time Posted: Dec 21, 2022 at 1:05 PM Permalink to Pedernales Cellars Last Minute Gift Recommendations Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
October 11, 2022 | Julie Kuhlken

Meet Ashley Gunckel, Event Coordinator

You have probably seen Ashley Gunckel around the winery. Her broad smile and happy-to-help demeanor have been a fixture at Pedernales Cellars for more than five years. She is an integral part of our team, and she is a living embodiment of our culture of making it easy for people to enjoy wine.

Ashley has helped the winery in several roles. She was first a tasting room associate, was promoted to team lead, and was recently promoted to Event Coordinator. This job is an absolutely great fit for her energy and talents.

How It Started

Ashley hasn’t always worked in the wine world. Before joining our team at Pedernales Cellars, she worked as a vet tech, groomed animals, and assisted with customer service at her mom’s veterinary clinic in Colorado.

Wanderlust and a yearning for a change of scenery led her to Texas. Soon after settling in Hye, Texas, she found out about a job opening at Pedernales Cellars. She was immediately thrilled by the possibility of working at a winery.

“After the interview, I didn’t even make it out of the driveway before they called and offered me the job,” says Ashley. “We just clicked. I love working with people, and my friendly, outgoing personality was a good fit for the team at Pedernales.”

There was a bit of a learning curve for Ashley when she started the job.

She recalls, “On my first day working on my own in the tasting room as an associate, someone purchased a bottle of wine at the end of their tasting. I was shy and a little bit nervous during the whole tasting. When I pulled the bottle out to serve it to them, it slipped out of my hands and shattered on the floor. I was mortified. Thankfully everyone started laughing, and my manager was very understanding.”

How It's Going

“I don’t think I’ll ever leave the wine industry,” says Ashley. “I’m glad I get to work at a place where I genuinely love every wine we make. The vibe is great. The people are great. There are so many really interesting and smart people here. We love to hang out after work too. That is the best part about work here.”

Ashley’s love for people extends beyond her work family. She loves working with our guests and gets a rush from her role planning events that our members like to attend. One key to her success is that she avidly attends events as well and gleans the best of what she experiences at concerts, hosted dinners, and other winery events to add to her library of ideas for incredible events at Pedernales Cellars.

“I like to bring the best of what I experience to my job,” she says. “I want people to have a great time. I have met people from all over the world and get to hear their stories. It is satisfying to plan and execute events that entertain these fascinating people, and they also walk away learning something. Education is core to everything we do in the tasting room and our events. We want people to continually learn new and interesting things about wine to help deepen their appreciation and love for it. At the same time, we want to make sure people have a lot of fun. For wine club events, we want to express our gratitude for our members and make them feel special.”

Ashley doesn’t go it alone. She has a knack for open communication and teamwork. She gathers input and builds consensus to make sure the team is involved in a great outcome. She values the opinions of tasting room associates who are meeting with customers every day and uses that input to make sure our events are as fun and engaging as possible.

That collaborative approach made it easy for her to make the transition from being a tasting room associate to being a manager of the same people that she used to work alongside.

“We have had a really, really good team of seasoned professionals. Our personal relationships and the supportive environment have made the transition easy and rewarding.”

What Keeps Her Going

The wine business — beyond what is inside the bottle — energizes Ashley. She is fascinated by the growing process in the vineyard, how wine is made, the chemistry behind it, and the art.

“One of the things I learned when I first started that was mind-blowing is that really good wine starts with really good grapes in the vineyard. No matter how good the winemaker is, you must have good fruit. It starts in the vines. I visit the vineyards as often as possible. I’ve helped with planting new vines, helped with harvest, and led tours of the vineyard. I get to cool continuously learn about the vineyard.”  

Ashley has always been interested in chemistry and science, going back to even before her days working at the vet clinic. To pursue that passion in the wine industry, she has assisted as a “cellar rat” to help make the wine. In so doing, she has been able to shadow our winemaker, Joanna Wilczoch, in the lab and learn about all of the aspects that go into the wine.

Ashley’s Favorite Wines

“The wine at Pedernales Cellars is exceptional. I love our rosé. I could literally drink our rosé all day. I am also a huge fan of our Tempranillo Reserve. Those are my two go-to wines. I exclusively drink Texas wine. There are a lot of great wines made in Texas, so when I’m not drinking our wine, it is from one of our neighbors.”

Want to drink like Ashley? You can order her favorite wines online or pick them up at the tasting room. Try our 2021 Over the Moon Rose and the 2019 Texas Tempranillo Reserve.

Join Ashley at Our Next Events

“I love introducing people to Texas wine and letting them experience how great it is. I want everyone to feel welcome at Pedernales Cellars events. Wine events aren’t always prim and proper. They can be super casual and fun. It's all about enjoying excellent wine, delicious food, and just enjoying the scene. You don’t have to be a serious wine expert to have a great time at our events. I can’t wait for people to come to our next few events.

Fall Feast Vintner’s Dinner is our most popular dinner of the year. It is held after hours on the patio hosted by an owner. Our featured chef prepares special dishes and presents each course paired with our wines. It is coming up on Saturday, October 29, starting at 5:00 PM.

The KO Wine Club Pick-Up Party will be held on Sunday, October 30. This is only for members who have joined this allocation club. It is definitely an elevated pairing experience, so dress up.

The Tempranillo Tasting Room Take-Over on Sunday, December 11 is going to be a blast. We will have an all-Tempranillo tasting flight with a vertical of older Tempranillos from the Library, in addition to our current release, the 2019 Reserve Tempranillo.

Our Winter 2022 Wine Club Pick-Up Party will be held on Sunday, December 4. The winter party is typically our most relaxed club event, and I look forward to it every year. It has a chill vibe and people come in a festive holiday mood. It is a great time to stock up for holiday parties.”

Time Posted: Oct 11, 2022 at 11:45 AM Permalink to Meet Ashley Gunckel, Event Coordinator Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
May 27, 2022 | Julie Kuhlken

Plan a Perfect Weekend in the Texas Hill Country

We love the Texas Hill Country. There’s a reason we built our winery where we did—views for days! Driving through the Texas Hill Country, one can feel their shoulders relaxing, their jaws unclenching, and the stress just melting away.

Summer is a busy travel season, and we know many of you will be visiting our neck of the woods soon. We welcome you to swing by! Whether visiting the Texas Hill Country for the first or fiftieth time, we want to give you a few ideas to make the most of your visit.

Our Pedernales Cellars winery and tasting room in Stonewall, Texas is a perfect place to start or end your Hill Country adventure. Our property is nestled in the heart of the Texas wine country, on 145 acres of oak-shaded land, with unparalleled views of the beautiful Pedernales River Valley. Enjoy a tasting experience of select wines guided by our knowledgeable staff, and then take in the scenery on our spacious patio or expansive lawn with wine by the glass, or by the bottle. We feature live music by local artists each Saturday. We welcome leashed pets on the patio or the lawn while you enjoy our wine.  We are open seven days a week and encourage reservations to enjoy a tasting at the tasting room bar.

Places to Stay

Rose Hill Retreat: This charming bed and breakfast just happens to be our next-door neighbor. It’s very convenient to check into your suite or cottage at Rose Hill and then meander over our way for a wine tasting. Or you can pick up a bottle to enjoy later in your room.

Stonewall Motor Lodge: This funky retro motel down the road from us was built in 1964, and the recent remodel and update harkens back to that era stylistically while providing all the modern amenities for its guests. Rent a room or a private cabin or dock your RV in one of their RV slots.

Blue Skies Retro Resort: If you love the idea of staying in a retro trailer, this is where you want to be. Lodging at the resort is at one of several updated retro trailers, and they have a pool on the property. Winding down at the pool with a bottle of Pedernales Cellars wine is a perfect end to a summer day in the Texas Hill Country.

Local Attractions

Driving tour of the LBJ Ranch at LBJ Ranch National Park: Right now the Texas White House is closed for touring, but you can still drive through the ranch and see the house and LBJ’s boyhood home from the outside. It’s a fun way to spend an hour or two.

Stonewall and Fredericksburg peaches: You can expect to see German culture and wineries year-round in the area, but summer is special because our famous peaches are in season! Enjoy a tour of a peach orchard and buy a bag of peaches.

You can pick your own peaches at Jehnske Orchards in Fredericksburg. Vogel Orchards, Gold Orchards, and Burg’s Corner are great places to visit in Stonewall. Any of these places are fun to visit and are great places to buy peaches. Look out at these spots and around the Fredericksburg town square for the ever-popular peach soft serve ice cream—it’s a refreshing way to cool down on a hot summer day.

Pedernales Falls State Park: This is a glorious spot, especially for anyone who loves hiking, mountain biking, and swimming in a true natural setting. The Pedernales River is in the middle of the park and reached by a hike along a steep and rocky trail about a quarter of a mile in. There are also fun spots for geocaching if you are into that. Always check the website for trail closures and other safety info.

Shopping in Fredericksburg: Hit up Main Street or the Warehouse District for boutique stores to find Texas treasures to take home with you. Invest in some comfy cowboy boots or grab some Texas-made gourmet items like BBQ sauce, chocolate, and olive oil. You can also find plenty of kitschy items that make fun gifts for those back home or make a nice memento of your trip there.

Places to Eat

Hye Market Bistro & Deli: This local favorite up the road in Hye is a super popular spot, open for lunch only. They source as much local and in-season food as possible, so expect the menu to change. They are encouraging online ordering during the busy season.

Bryan’s on 290: Open for dinner only, Bryan’s on 290 is for when you want to get dressed up and enjoy an elegant night out. Bryan’s is in Johnson City, which is also nearby on “Wine Road” 290. Chef Bryan Gillenwater has made a name for himself with his live-fire specialties. They also host wine-paired dinners from time to time.

Ottos’ Grill: With Fredericksburg’s German history and the abundance of local farms in the Texas Hill Country area, this farm-to-table German restaurant makes a lot of sense. They are open for dinner and Sunday brunch. The menu changes but is sure to offer the best local ingredients and German recipes.

Cabernet Grill: Another high-end option in Fredericksburg is this classy restaurant boasting the largest selection of Texas wines, so be sure to ask for pairing recommendations. Chef Ross Burtwell brings style and flair to his Hill Country fare. Make sure to save room for dessert here, as they are sublime.

Martini’s Seafood House: This Fredericksburg spot is for when you have a craving for delicious seafood. The Spicy Lobster Roll is recommended. They also have a selection of raw oysters, crab cakes, and a seafood tower for sharing.

Pedernales Cellars: Of course, we think you should fit a wine course in every day! We have a lovely cheese and charcuterie board to snack on with your wine. It will tide you over until dinnertime.

We do hope to see you at our winery soon. There’s nothing quite as serene as watching the sunset in the big Texas sky over the Texas Hill Country! We often find ourselves catching our breath when we watch it from our property.

 

 

 

Time Posted: May 27, 2022 at 12:00 AM Permalink to Plan a Perfect Weekend in the Texas Hill Country Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
December 1, 2021 | Julie Kuhlken

Making Truly Fine Wine in Texas

What is Fine Wine?

In a recent article, New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov describes the definition of “fine wine,” which he prefers to refer to as “great wine.” As he puts it, “Greatness has classically been associated with wines that showed complexity and nuance, that were able to age and evolve over many years, that touched the emotions, inspired contemplation, and provoked discussion.” That sounds like the kind of wine that I want to drink.

What is Texas Fine Wine?

Some of the major wine-producing regions of the world have a long head-start on producing wine over Texas. The French, Germans, Italians, and Spaniards have had centuries of experience to achieve greatness in winemaking. The post-prohibition wine industry in Texas got started less than 50 years ago.

It is perfectly understandable that people would have doubts that such a young wine region would be able to produce fine wine. To dispel those misgivings, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) funded marketing for the wine industry in the 2000s featuring programs such as the “Texas Two Sip” where Texas wines were tasted blind along with fine wines from around the world, such as a Texas Sangiovese vs. an Italian Chianti Classico of the same vintage.

One such Texas Two Sip tasting was held in 2009 at the TEXSOM Conference, a premier educational event for sommeliers and wine professionals. This is a tough audience of wine experts. Most had never tasted Texas wine. It was very eye-opening for attendees because, during the blind tasting, many could not always distinguish the Texas wine from its international counterpart.

Unfortunately, the Texas Legislature cut TDA funding for the wine industry in 2011, and with that, all the marketing for our industry came to a halt.

Not deterred by this setback, wine PR professional Denise Clarke organized several wineries to host a hospitality suite to showcase Texas wines at TEXSOM in 2012. We jumped at the opportunity to pour our wines alongside McPherson Cellars, Brennan Vineyards, and Duchman Family Winery to ensure that wine professionals from around the world had an opportunity to taste fine wines from Texas while they were visiting our home state. The suite was hugely popular, and again, wine professionals were excited to try Texas wines!

The tasting at TEXSOM in 2012 was eye-opening because we could immediately see the support that we had from the Somm community. They know how great Texas wine can be and want to see it shine.

After that successful TEXSOM event, we decided that Pedernales Cellars would take the lead in creating a group of like-minded wineries to continue marketing our great wines. We knew we were making fine wine, but there was a lot of work to be done to get people to know it. Without the support of the state to provide marketing funds for a broader Texas wine marketing program, such as those in wine regions in New York, Washington, and Oregon, we needed to self-fund a program. Fortunately, a core group of wineries, all of whom have stellar reputations for their wines, guest service, wine clubs, and special events, were eager to participate.

In 2014 Texas Fine Wine was born.

The original members included Pedernales Cellars, Duchman Family, Brennan Vineyards, and Bending Branch Winery. Spicewood Vineyards joined in 2016. In 2021 Brennan Vineyards left the group to accommodate Pat and Trellise Brennan's retirement plans.  Sadly, Pat Brennan died this Fall, and the Texas Fine Wine wineries honored him with a donation to TWGGA.

Today Texas Fine Wine is still a privately funded marketing initiative representing four of Texas’ most distinguished wineries: Bending Branch Winery, Duchman Family Winery, Pedernales Cellars, and Spicewood Vineyards. Our goal is to show the world that our wineries are producing benchmark wines from Texas grapes. Or to put it in Mr. Asimov’s terms, we are creating wines of greatness with complexity, that evolve with age, are touched by our passion, inspire contemplation, and show a definitive sense of place. I am confident that I am always pouring great wines when I serve wines from these wineries, and this is true vintage after vintage.

Great wine is made by great people. The folks involved with Texas Fine Wine are some of my favorite peeps in the Texas wine business. They are dedicated, smart, and funny.

We know we are achieving that goal not only by winning accolades at the most prestigious national and international wine competitions but also by winning the praise of discerning wine consumers like you.

Get Your Texas Fine Wine

Texas Fine Wine is offering a special four-bottle 2021 Holiday Pack of wines that will pair great with your holiday table and is a terrific gift. The pack includes these exceptional wines:

  • Pedernales Cellars 2018 Tempranillo Reserve — Blend of Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional and Graciano with notes of black currant, black cherry, and vanilla
  • Duchman Family Winery 2020 Roussanne, Oswald Vineyard — 100% Roussanne with notes of ripe pear, lime, stone fruit, and minerality
  • Spicewood Vineyards 2018 The Independence — A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with notes of black plum, black cherries, and dark chocolate
  • Bending Branch Winery 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Newsom Vineyards — 100% Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of black cherry cola, baking spices, clove, and vanilla

Orders placed by December 8 will arrive in time for Christmas.

Time Posted: Dec 1, 2021 at 2:15 PM Permalink to Making Truly Fine Wine in Texas Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
October 30, 2021 | Julie Kuhlken

Meet Mel Carter, Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Before joining our team at Pedernales Cellars, Mel Carter was a stay-at-home mom, and her family owned a peach stand in Fredericksburg. It was her role as a mom that led her to us. As fate would have it, two other moms in her children’s friend group both worked at Pedernales Cellars.

“They asked if I wanted to have adult time, says Mel. “I joined Pedernales Cellars as a tasting room associate on the weekends in May of 2013 and have loved every minute of it ever since.”  

She loves working at our smaller, family-owned winery, where she can focus on customer service. Mel likes having time to talk with our customers to understand why they are here and how she can make their visit enjoyable.

Focused on Wine Education 

Mel is a natural in the tasting room. She has a knack for sharing her passion for wine education with guests in a fun and engaging way. Over the years, Mel has not only shared the history of the vineyards and the winery with countless guests, but she has also helped shape the tasting room with her ability to get people excited about wine.  

“When I first started, I didn’t drink wine at all,” says Mel. “As soon as I started, I wanted to learn everything I could about wine from what ‘terroir’ means and how it impacts the wine, to the differences between grapes grown in the Texas High Plains vs. the Hill Country to every aspect of what leads to the final flavor of each wine. It was eye-opening to learn how wine tastes different when aged in stainless steel, versus French oak barrels, versus American oak. Everything about how the wine is made plays a role in creating the flavor. There are a lot of factors that impact the flavor of a wine.” 

Mel continues, “I love helping people get excited about not only enjoying wine but also learning more about it so they have an even richer experience. It is fun for people to explore the difference between the nose and palate of a wine, and how we can taste different aspects of the wine in different parts of our mouth. There is an art to tasting wine. It is not like going to a bar and having a shot of liquor. I walk our guests through the three phases of tasting: the first sip is to cleanse your palate, the second is to set your palate, and finally, the third sip lets us truly taste the wine. The most fun is meeting people who are new to wine and helping them learn about it. It is really rewarding to see them pick up nuances of the wine.”

Mel has been with the winery through several growth phases in the past eight years and has grown right along with us. She is adept at managing the changes in the industry and the curveballs that the pandemic has thrown at us. She has jumped right in to assist with our tasting room remodel and continual enhancements to ensure we offer the best possible experience for guests.

Mel's Favorite Sips

Mel readily admits that she feels spoiled to work at a winery where she loves the wine.

“I love our Tempranillo Reserve and our GSM Mélange. It pairs well with everything. I’m definitely a fan of red wines. When a non-wine drinker comes to the tasting room, I like to compare red wines to whiskey. Our heavier more oaked reds like the Newseaux and Family Reserve wines that are aged longer in oak can relate well to whiskey aged in oak barrels. These are my kind of wines.”

We invite you to visit our tasting room, meet Mel, and taste some of her favorite wines. Cheers! 

Time Posted: Oct 30, 2021 at 12:14 PM Permalink to Meet Mel Carter, Assistant Tasting Room Manager Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
June 16, 2021 | Julie Kuhlken

Treat Dad: Delicious White Wine Pairings with Grilling for Father’s Day

It’s an age-old, iconic image: Dad stationed at the grill with a spatula in one hand and a cold drink in the other. We have the perfect wines for dad to enjoy with grilled foods on Father’s Day.   

Pairing wine with grilling is very similar to any wine and food pairing. The best approach is to look for a combination that heightens the flavor of both the food and the wine. When grilling, look for complementary and contrasting flavors in the wine and the preparation of the meat, rather than just the type of meat. It’s all about the seasonings, sauces, and glazes playing well with the wine.

White wine pairs incredibly well with grilled pork, chicken, and seafood. Three of our classic Pedernales Cellars white wines are now on special just in time for Father’s Day grilling.  The Sip Into Summer Special crisp white wines are perfect for a hot day in June, cooking up some of your favorite summer recipes. Try these pairings.

2018 Texas High Plains Vermentino and Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken pairs beautifully with deliciously light and vibrant Vermentino. This pairing is simplicity with sophistication. The citrusy, and tropical flavors of our Vermentino, along with its lovely acidity make this wine a versatile accompaniment to grilled chicken prepared several ways. The hint of pineapple in the wine brings out the char and smoky flavors of simply seasoned grilled chicken. The zippy acidity helps it bring out the best in tangy sauces, too.

2018 Texas Albariño and Grilled Pork

Our Albariño is a complex and fruity white wine that balances the smoke and spice of grilled pork. This wine has aromas of Golden Delicious apples, lemon grass, lemon, poppy seed, and a hint of melon. The lemon, almond, and melon flavors perfectly complement the sweet, spicy, smoky, and tangy flavors of grilled pork. Pork is laden with flavor and fat, and often the accompanying sauces are acidic. These flavors beg for a wine with enough crisp acidity and a slight creaminess to stand up to it. Albariño fits the bill wonderfully.

2018 Texas Viognier and Grilled Seafood

Grilled fish and full-bodied white wines like Viognier are a match made in heaven. In particular, Viognier is excellent paired with heavier fish dishes like grilled salmon or grilled swordfish served with a creamy sauce. Our Texas Viognier has subtle notes of caramel and vanilla, layered with green apple, pineapple, and floral notes. The flavors of apples and crisp pears, along with a balanced minerality and salinity, marry our Viognier exquisitely with the oily texture of grilled salmon or swordfish.

Our 3 bottle Sip Into Summer Special will treat Dad right! Pick up the bundle at our tasting room or order it to be shipped and enjoy $10 off shipping. This special is available while supplies last or until June 30, 2021.

 

 

Time Posted: Jun 16, 2021 at 4:45 PM Permalink to Treat Dad: Delicious White Wine Pairings with Grilling for Father’s Day Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
May 27, 2021 | Julie Kuhlken

The Best Way to Enjoy Wine with Your Memorial Day Picnic

Memorial Day weekend is an ideal time to get outside, delight in nature, and enjoy a picnic. We’re fortunate to have so many beautiful places in Texas to eat alfresco. If you need inspiration to pack your picnic basket, just follow these simple steps.

Pedernales Cellars Rose Wine

1. Grab the Perfect Picnic Wine  

What is the right wine for a picnic? Rosé! And a second bottle of Rosé!

Why? The gorgeous pink color is as inviting as a Texas wildflower. The bright fruit flavors complement the lovely flavors of almost any food you can bring on a picnic. Enjoying a glass of chilled wine is so refreshing on a warm afternoon.   

Our 2018 Pedernales Cellars Texas Dry Rosé is an excellent choice for a picnic. It is a Rhône-style blend made with predominantly Cinsault grapes along with Mourvèdre from our Kuhlken Estate Vineyard, and Carignan. This lush rosé wine is fruity and lively with candied watermelon, guava, red delicious apples, and strawberry aromas. It has cheerful cherry and strawberry flavors that carry through with crisp acidity. It's as refreshing as a cool summer breeze. This is undoubtedly my favorite picnic wine of all time.

The 2019 Pedernales Cellars Kyla Pét-Nat Rosé Sparkling Wine brings the extra excitement of bubbly fun. It is a perfect picnic wine for the long Memorial Day weekend, as it is lower in alcohol so you can enjoy a glass and still play frisbee with accuracy. The lively effervescence and peppy acidity make our Kyla particularly food-friendly. It pairs incredibly well with fresh fruit, spicy picnic food like marinated stuffed cherry peppers, as well as grilled chicken and burgers. It is only available for purchase in our tasting room.

2. Keep It Cool

Rosé should always be served chilled – around 50 to 60 degrees. If you don’t have a wine cooler sleeve, or a fancy, rugged stainless-steel bottle insulator to keep your bottle cool, never fear. Here are a couple of ways to keep your wine chilled for your Memorial Day picnic.

Zip it in Ice — pop your bottle of Pedernales Cellars into a gallon-size freezer bag with a zipper closure. Fill it with ice, and zip it closed (as best you can with the neck sticking out of the top). Stand your improvised cooler on end so it doesn’t leak in your basket, and your wine will stay cold for hours.  

Use a Koozie — Slide one koozie over the bottom of the wine bottle, and another koozie right over top, allowing the neck to poke through the hole in the bottom of the koozie. While the koozies won't completely encapsulate the bottle; they will insulate it enough to keep the bottle chilled for a couple of hours.

3. “Hey Boo Boo, Let's Go Get Us a Pic-a-nic Basket”.

Next, select the menu for your outdoor feast. Fill your picnic basket with a variety of easy-to-eat treats that would make Yogi swoon. Toss in fresh berries, cut veggies, a selection of cheeses, and simple sandwiches. Try this picnic-friendly sandwich:

  • Cut a French baguette into 6-inch-long sections, then cut each section in half longways.
  • Spread a mint pesto onto one-half of the baguette.
  • On the other half, layer Boursin Cheese, sliced cucumber, smoked salmon, and microgreens.
  • Press the two halves together and wrap in butcher paper.

Dress up your place setting with cloth napkins, reusable cutlery, tea lights, and an easy-going picnic tablecloth.

Now you are all set for an afternoon of relaxation, and delicious dining outside. Swing by our tasting room on your way to the park or order the 2018 Texas Dry Rosé online and have it shipped right to your house.

Cheers!

 

Time Posted: May 27, 2021 at 11:45 AM Permalink to The Best Way to Enjoy Wine with Your Memorial Day Picnic Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
March 11, 2021 | Julie Kuhlken

Spring Break at Home Brings the World to You

Let us bring a little taste of Europe--and Texas--to you during this spring break. While many of us would normally travel to faraway destinations, this year many of us are opting to stay home in Texas for spring break. 

Don’t get us wrong--we love Texas! Yet how do we experience the best of both worlds? One way we are making the most of sticking close to home this year is through our Spring Break at Home wine bundle, inspired by and made with grape varietals popular in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France. Why not maximize this lawn chair travel by setting the mood, and letting the wine whisk you away? 

Try streaming a movie set in one of these countries or play some traditional music. Then cook or order a regional meal to go with these delectable wine selections. Paella, pasta, or beef bourguignon, together with our Pedernales Cellars wines in this bundle will transport you to another place, at least mentally. This carefully curated bundle includes our 2018 Texas Albariño, 2017 Cuvee 1853, and 2017 Newsom Vineyard North Block vintages. 

Taste of Spain: 2018 Texas Albariño

Our 2018 Texas Albariño is a varietal wine based on a grape grown in Rías Baixas in North West Spain. It is bright, crisp, and distinctly different from the other white wines in our program. While the majority of this wine is made from Texas High Plains fruit, a small portion of the fruit was harvested from our Kuhlken Estate Vineyard as well as Enchanted Rock Vineyards in the Hill Country. This wine was entirely fermented in stainless steel, although a small portion of the Hill Country fruit was macerated with the skins on to add color and structure to the wine.

Our 2018 Texas Albariño has notes of lemon, vanilla, and a hint of saltiness reminiscent of the saltiness found in traditional Albariño grapes grown near the ocean in Galicia and northern Portugal.  This is an aromatic white known for its versatility, and pairs exceptionally well with seafood, pork, and green vegetables. Stream your favorite Almodóvar movie or play some Plácido Domingo or Enrique Iglesias music to round out your evening in Spain. 

Taste of Italy: 2017 Cuvee 1853 

Our 2017 Cuvee 1853 commemorates the first of our ancestors arriving in Texas six generations ago. Spring break is family time, and gathering together to celebrate with wine is a wonderful way to share the experience. This vintage is an Italian-style blend of Dolcetto, Merlot, and Teroldego. Rich with fruit aromas and a medium body, this is a food-friendly wine that pairs well with everything from pasta to cheeses to grilled meats. 

Expect to taste notes of strawberry and raspberry, balanced out by savory hints of dried sage and leather. Get sentimental about Italy with your favorite evocative Italian movie, perhaps the charming Cinema Paradiso. Or go full-on cheesy romantic mode with Under the Tuscan Sun for a night that leaves you longing for Italy. Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy is especially hot right now, and will satisfy your craving for an Italian experience from the comfort of your home. You can’t go wrong pairing your favorite Italian dinner with this medium body wine full of soft tannins and bright fruit. 

Taste of France: 2017 Newsom Vineyard North Block

The 2017 Newsom Vineyard North Block comes from one of our favorite growers who has been producing high-quality fruit in the Texas High Plains for over 30 years. Newsom Vineyard is arguably the best in the state to grow Bordeaux varieties, and so we have crafted this tasty blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot from them. A Bordeaux blend makes the most of diversity in its varietal make-up, and that’s what we crafted with our 2017 Newsom Vineyard North Block. 

Find your joie de vivre in your own backyard with our Newsom Vineyard North Block wine, coupled with Edith Piaf’s Ma Vie en Rose, or fall in love all over again with Amélie and her quirky meddling. Set the table with a feast from your local French restaurant, or stream and cook along with Julia Child in The French Chef. Anything for that French feeling. 

Cheers to Spring Break! 

Order our internationally inspired Spring Break at Home Texas wine trio now, and dream of your next trip abroad. We can ship it to you, or you can pick it up at our winery to enjoy the view. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Time Posted: Mar 11, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Spring Break at Home Brings the World to You Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
 
February 11, 2021 | Julie Kuhlken

Our Favorite Wine & Food Pairing Recommendations for Valentine’s Day

This year many of us will be celebrating Valentine’s Day at home rather than flocking to restaurants for our romantic meals. That means we won’t have a helpful server or sommelier to recommend the best wines to pair with our meals.

Never fear! The Pedernales Cellars team put together some sure-fire wine pairings that will please the palate of your sweetie.

2017 Texas GSM Melange + Cheese and Charcuterie Board for Two

Tasting room manager, Cathy Martell, has a fantastic recommendation to start off your romantic evening. “What could be more playful than feeding each other savory bites of cured meats, aromatic cheeses, fruit, and nuts? A gorgeously arranged Charcuterie board is a wonderful first course that goes really well with our 2017 Texas GSM Melange. The lovely fattiness of the cheeses and cured meats pair well with the bold, juicy, fruit flavors and is an excellent counterbalance to the tannins in the wine. Yum!”

2019 Over the Moon Rosé + Salmon Provençal

President and winemaker, David Kuhlken, chose a distinctly southern French pairing with a romantic backstory for our second course. “We named our Over the Moon Rosé in honor of our parent’s love story. They met while working for NASA on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 and have been ‘over the moon’ in love ever since. Rosé wines, in general, make extremely good pairings for a wide variety of cuisines and is a particularly terrific accompaniment to roast salmon. The light body and lively acidity of the wine lifts the oiliness of the fish, while the fresh strawberry and watermelon flavors enhance the earthiness of the Herbes de Provence. A simple yet elegant course for your love.”

2017 Family Reserve + Spaghetti and Meatballs

Co-owner, marketing and hospitality director, Julie Kuhlken, has a playful recommendation for the main course. “For Valentine’s dinner, I recommend a ‘Lady and the Tramp’ style pairing of spaghetti and meatballs with our Italian variety based 2017 Family Reserve. Why not have a little fun by slurping noodles from one big plate of spaghetti with the goal of meeting in the middle? The 2017 Family Reserve is a complex wine with ample cassis, black cherry, and black raspberry flavors, followed by leather, currants, and dried herbs. It is delicious with the big bold flavors of hearty Italian dishes and herbed meatballs in particular.”

2017 Texas High Plains Tempranillo + Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Events manager, Ashley Gunckel, selected a classic dessert paired with one of our most popular wines. “There is nothing more quintessential for Valentine’s Day than chocolate-covered strawberries. Spear one with Cupid’s arrow and feed it to your sweetheart along with a slightly chilled glass of our Texas High Plains Tempranillo. The cherry and blackberry flavors of the wine are excellent with the strawberry and bring out citrus notes in the chocolate. The bittersweetness of the chocolate tones the acidity of the wine down for a nice velvety smooth sensation. It’s a perfect way to cap off a delicious Valentine’s dinner.”

We wish you a delightful evening with delicious pairings. 

 

 

 
 
Time Posted: Feb 11, 2021 at 2:30 PM Permalink to Our Favorite Wine & Food Pairing Recommendations for Valentine’s Day Permalink