Let's Talk over Drinks
Each October we celebrate two jewels of Texas agriculture with Texas Pecan and Texas Wine Months. For a unique opportunity to celebrate them together the Texas Pecan Board in collaboration with Texas Fine Wine will host a virtual pecan and wine tasting, led by sommelier and Texas culinary expert Jessica Dupuy and food historian Melissa Guerra on October 21, 2020, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
"Considering the history and culture behind Texas pecans and Texas wine, it’s only fitting that we bring the two together to celebrate their place in Texas cuisine,” said Dupuy. “This tasting will be a great way to look at the different grape varieties that are doing well in Texas and taste how wines from these varieties are complemented by Texas pecans."
We love pecans. We love wine. But are they a good pairing? We think they are fantastic together. Take an opportunity to taste for yourself. The virtual pecan and wine tasting, A Toast to Texas Pecans, will feature Texas pecan recipes and wine pairings to help wine and food enthusiasts get the most out of these authentically Texas products. The interactive session will make participants feel like they are in the room with Dupuy and Guerra as the two experts talk about what wine pairs with pecans and the rich history and ties each has with the state of Texas.
Thank you to all who have signed up to participate. To give you a head start on your preparations for the evening, we’re sharing our wine and pecan pairing and the recipe that will be featured in the virtual tasting.
Pedernales Cellars 2018 Texas Tempranillo and Texas Pecan Jalapeño Cheese Ball
Pedernales Cellars is well known for specializing in Spanish and Rhône-style wines, including our benchmark Tempranillo. Our 2018 Texas Tempranillo has classic Spanish flavors married with distinct Texas terroir. It is a vibrant, lighter-bodied Tempranillo with red cherry, dried herbs, cedar, and vanilla flavors. In Spain, Tempranillo wines are primarily served alongside grilled red meats and ham, but Tempranillo’s versatility makes it a handy pairing for a wide range of foods. Its bright red fruit characteristics make Tempranillo a sensational cheese pairing. Especially when herbaceous jalapeño and the buttery nuttiness of Texas pecans in this easy-to-make cheese ball.
Texas Pecan Jalapeño Cheese Ball
Y I E L D: 12, 2-ounce servings
I N G R E D I E N T S
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 4 green onions, minced
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 ounce can diced jalapeños, drained
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup chopped Texas pecans
D I R ECT I O N S
- Place the softened cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add the minced onions, parsley, garlic, jalapeños and salt. Using an electric hand blender, mix the ingredients until well blended, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the shredded cheese and mix for another 30 seconds until the cheeses are well combined.
- Place the chopped pecans in a glass pie dish. Using a rubber spatula, gather up the cheese mixture by scraping the sides of the bowl (Don’t forget any cheese that may have collected on the mixer beaters!) Form the cheese mixture into a ball with your hands. Roll the ball into the chopped pecans, coating the outside of the cheeseball thoroughly and evenly.
- Wrap the cheeseball in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. For best results, make one day in advance of serving. Garnish with fresh springs of parsley, whole pecans and a whole jalapeño as preferred.
We’re looking forward to tasting along with you on October 21. Our 2018 Texas Tempranillo is available in retail stores for your convenience. Happy Texas Wine Month!
This year, Pedernales Cellars marks the 25th year since the planting of Kuhlken Vineyards, our family vineyard. My how time flies! When our parents first planted the Kuhlken Vineyard in 1995 they had no way of envisioning where we’d be today, but they certainly did give us roots that we take pride in even to this day – and into the next generation.
The key to our growth over the years has come with our understanding that no matter how much we learn about the Texas terroir we’ll always be learning more. The land is our greatest teacher and it’s our connection to it that makes Pedernales Cellars special.
In celebration of our landmark anniversary, we are pleased to share with you 25 fun facts you may or may not know about our history – starting with the planting of Kuhlken Vineyards.
- Kuhlken Vineyards was originally planted by Larry and Jeanine as an early retirement project. They were returning to the land after a professional life in the IT sector and were interested in growing grapes to sell to other Hill Country wineries.
- When getting started Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken received advice from their friends, the Johnsons, who grew grapes in Red Mountain AVA of Washington state.
- The vine on display over our reserve wine bar in the tasting room is nineteen-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon. It was 19 at the time it was cut down. That vine was part of the original Kuhlken Vineyard planting in 1995.
- The planting of Kuhlken Vineyards was a family affair. Julie came back from California where she was living at the time to help plant and water the new vines. David came up from Houston to help install the vineyard’s irrigation system with their dad.
- Part of Kuhlken Vineyards is located in Bell Mountain AVA, the oldest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Texas. It was formed in 1986 by Bob Oberhelman of Bell Mountain Winery. The vineyard is also located in the Llano Uplift a geological phenomenon that brought old, infertile soil to the surface around 300 million years ago, including the degraded sandstone in Kuhlken Vineyards.
- Kuhlken Vineyards is broken into Blocks based on when they were planted.
- The original planting in 1995 was of four varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the beginning, Larry and Jeanine sold their grapes to other wineries. These were the varieties that their customers wanted in the 1990s.
- The front vineyard was planted in 1995 and is known as Block Zero.
- The vineyard is located on North Highway 16 which is an excellent place for a vineyard, but not for a tasting room. So, the Kuhlken family selected a winery/tasting room site on the well-traveled 290 corridor. Even as the wine region grows, to this day, there are no tasting rooms on North Highway 16.
- Of the original plantings, the red varietals did OK, but the whites did not thrive and were eventually replaced with Mourvèdre. As Block Zero Mourvèdre thrived, the varietal gained favor among Texas winegrowers.
- Block Zero now includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, and Mourvèdre. These varietals adapt well to the hot summers in Texas. The Merlot vines are pictured to the left in early growth stages, March of 2020.
- A new section of Kuhlken Vineyard was planted in 2007. That is known as Block One which includes Mourvèdre and Tempranillo.
- Block Two was also planted in 2007 and includes the Portuguese variety, Touriga Nacional. This is a high-quality grape with origins in Portugal.
- In good vintage years, Pedernales Cellars will bottle wines sourced from individual blocks, such as the 2018 Block Zero. Club members gain exclusive access to these wines when they are released, or when we offer library tastings.
- The only significant planting Pedernales Cellars has of a white wine variety is Albariño. Albariño is a light-bodied white grape that is widely planted in Spain and Portugal.
- Kuhlken Vineyards was developed into a commercial vineyard and winery by Larry and Jeanine’s children, Julie and David. The winery remains a family business to this day.
- Glögg wine is a holiday tradition at Pedernales Cellars inspired by family connections in Sweden and the German heritage of Gillespie County where the winery is located.
- Joanna Wilczoch became our co-winemaker after her Southern hemisphere harvest in spring 2019 in New Zealand. Previously, she had worked as Dave’s assistant. Joanna is a super-taster with an excellent palate which compliments Dave’s understanding of what varietals work well in Texas.
- The founders of Kuhlken Vineyards, Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, met working on the Apollo 11 mission over 50 years ago. Our popular “Over the Moon Rosé” wine is meant to honor their story.
- In 2020, Pedernales Cellars created a label exclusively for retail markets called Six Generations. This wine label is meant to honor the strong family connection to our land spanning six generations while expanding consumers’ access to quality, Texas-grown wines.
- Pedernales Cellars is fortunate in the site for the winery because there is a hill that rises quickly behind the tasting room. This formation allowed the family to build a barrel room directly into the hill which uses natural cooling to reduce the winery’s carbon footprint.
- The wine club lounge is a 1880s farmhouse that was moved from its original location in Fredericksburg to its current location in Stonewall. The tasting room is comprised of additions to this original structure.
- Pedernales Cellars started a wine club soon after opening in 2008. We have three tiers of Pedernales wine clubs including a Winemaker’s Choice club with both red and white wines and a red wine only club.
- In 2014 we added our Collector’s Club for Kuhlken-Österberg wines that are released only once per year and are offered in only 6 bottle and 12 bottle memberships.
- In addition to our estate vineyard, Kuhlken Vineyards, we have worked with a select set of growers around the state to source the best Texas fruit possible for our 100% Texas grown wines. Most of these relationships are long-standing.
We are grateful.
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kuhlken Vineyards we are filled with gratitude for each and every person that has supported us over the years. Because we are committed to sharing and educating our community, we encourage you to follow Pedernales Cellars on our various social media channels. We enjoy sharing behind the scenes photos and videos to tell our story, and to keep consumers informed of what it takes to bottle the taste of Texas terroir from vine to wine.
Pedernales Cellars is fortunate to work with the best wine growers in the state of Texas. The best grapes deserve to be featured in limited production wines. We are proud to release our next two Signature Series Collection wines. These wines, created by the Pedernales Cellars winemaking team are one and two barrel lots of single varietal, single vineyard wines that highlight the most extraordinary blocks from the vintage. They are extremely limited, and we are super excited to share them with you.
At our Fall Wine Club Party, we will preview the 2016 La Pradera Tannat with the Winemaker. This will be one of the only times you will be able to taste and pre-order this wine.
2016 La Pradera Tannat, Texas High Plains
This wine is the first varietal Tannat that we have ever released and was planted for us by the folks at La Pradera Vineyards in Brownfield, TX. It is a relatively new grape to our cellar. We planned to use this variety as a blending component for the rich flavors, tannin, and color it can contribute to a wine. However, after tasting this lot in the cellar, we decided this vintage absolutely had to stand alone.
La Pradera Vineyards and is managed by a Texas winegrowing legend, Andy Timmons. This 120-acre vineyard used to be home to a raucous nightclub, now the winegrowing operations headquarters a tranquil and serene change of pace (except during harvest season).
Acclaimed for their red wine varietals, La Pradera is situated at 3,300 feet in elevation, has Amarillo fine sandy loam soil over clay which are a great combination to consistently produce some of the best wines in the state as featured in Texas Highways Magazine and Texas Monthly Magazine. Their Tannat is no exception.
The 2016 La Pradera Tannat has loads of character and intensity with scents of bramble, tar, dark chocolate, blackberry jam, eucalyptus, dried currants, dried cherries. Pleasant minerality underlies lush flavors of blackberry jam, cocoa, earth, and fresh green herbs. This Tannat has a pleasant finish with a hint of eucalyptus, and ample tannins that make it age worthy through 2023.
This wine especially complements smoked or cured meats, sausages, and game. We hope you’ll enjoy this wine as much as we have. It is the first harvest from this block, and we are looking forward to many more to come.
2017 Farmhouse Vineyards Cinsault, Texas High Plains
Since we opened our tasting room in 2008, we are well known for our wines made with Rhône varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. But more recently, we have worked with growers such as Farmhouse Vineyards to expand our range of Rhône varieties to enhance both the red and rosé wines. Cinsault is one such addition, and this expressive 2017 vintage gives our club members a chance to experience Cinsault on its own. We think wine club members will understand why this variety has earned a place in our cellar as a blending component once they experience its bright fruit flavors.
Operated by the Seaton and Furgeson brother/sister team, Farmhouse Vineyards is comprised of four vineyards on sites covering 112 acres in the High Plains AVA in West Texas. The vineyards situated at 3,330 feet in elevation see hot days and cool nights. The climate is similar to the hot, windy weather in the Southern Rhone Valley and Chateauneuf du Pape where the Cinsault grape thrives. The variety withstands dry conditions and grows well in the loamy soils of the High Plains.
We bottled the 2017 with about 9 months of barrel aging in neutral oak allowing the expressiveness of this light-bodied wine to really shine. It has bright notes of fresh strawberries, cranberries, fresh tobacco, and basil. It will fill your mouth with just-picked summer strawberries and a long finish with soft tannins.
Our 2017 Farmhouse Vineyards Cinsault is a great aperitif and is easy and lovely to drink on its own. It pairs beautifully with soft goat cheeses, blueberry salads, trout or salmon seasoned with dill.
With its lighter skins and soft perfume Cinsault is particularly suitable for fruity, early-drinking reds. This wine is being released now with the hopes you’ll enjoy it young and get the full expression of fruit flavors. Drink up and don’t worry about cellaring!
Join us at our Fall Wine Club Parties to preview the outstanding 2016 La Pradera Tannat.
Pedernales Cellars is fortunate to have an amazing estate vineyard located close to our winery. Kuhlken Vineyards is the heart of the family-owned winery. My brother, and Pedernales Cellars winemaker, David Kuhlken, and I relish the family history that has gone into cultivating vineyards and thoroughly enjoy our roles in helping the vineyard to evolve over the past two decades.
Our parents, Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, planted a 5 acre the vineyard in 1995 originally on a 55 acre property adjacent to State Highway 16 in Fredericksburg in the Bell Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area) in the Texas Hill Country. We have since expanded the vineyard to 17 acres with the totally property now at 295 acres. Our parents had a dream to return to their agricultural roots, having both grown up on farms for part of their respective childhoods.
Kuhlken Vineyards is situated on rolling hills with excellent soil and enjoys cooler evenings, making it one of the most ideal locations in the state for grape growing. At this site, we grow Albariño, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, and Touriga Nacional, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, for our award-winning vineyard designated wines. Each grape variety is in various stages of ripening, and we are quickly approaching harvest. The Pedernales Cellars team will soon be incredibly busy in the vineyard bringing in the grapes for the 2019 vintage.
We’re incredibly enthusiastic for harvest and want to share that excitement with you. We have two excellent ways for you to celebrate the Texas Wine Grape Harvest:
2019 Pedernales Cellars Harvest Photo Contest
Here is your opportunity to experience harvest and share it with the world. Now through August 22, 2019, we invite you to capture and share the hard work, passion and beauty of this unique time during the wine cycle in our Harvest Photo Contest.
- To enter the 2019 Pedernales Cellars Harvest Photo Contest, simply shoot a photo of any Texas wine-grape vineyard during harvest, tag your shots with @PedernalesCellars and hashtag #PedernalesHarvest19 and share them on Facebook or Instagram. We encourage you to tag other fantastic Texas wineries as well.
- Follow along via #PedernalesHarvest19 as the contest is also a great way for you to get unique insights into the winemaking process right from the start and an appreciation of the hard work, commitment and passion that goes into every bottle.
- The winner will receive tickets to Grape Stomp, and a Wine & Food Pairing event on September 15, along with Pedernales Cellars logo Riedel glasses.
2019 Kuhlken Vineyard Harvest Tour
On Saturday, August 3, beginning at 9:00 we invite you to take a little road trip to see the harvest firsthand at our estate vineyards in Fredericksburg. This tour begins at Pedernales Cellars at 9:00 a.m. and includes transportation to and from Kuhlken Vineyard, a picnic lunch, and a tour of our winery.
For more information, please visit: /events/2019-Harvest-Vineyard-Tour
Finding the right wine and food pairing can be a magical culinary experience. We are committed to helping you discover delicious dishes to go with our wines through our Vermentino: A Food and Wine Pairing Experience being held on June 23, as well as through this blog. This month, we’re delighted to have a guest blogger Certified Sommelier, and author of Falvo's Flights, Heather Falvo, share her expertise.
By Heather Falvo
It’s summer in Texas, and the best way to spend a hot day is with a bottle of chilled white wine and your favorite food. Pedernales Cellars makes some of my favorite Texas whites, and Falvo’s Flights will pair them with delicious dishes for you to enjoy.
One of my favorite things about the world of wine is pairings, since I love to drink wine and eat! Pairings are important … no one wants to have a great bottle of wine poured with a wonderful dish only to find that the two are a terrible match. A poor pairing can alter the flavors of the wine or the dish so much that you won’t want another sip or bite!
Luckily, there are a few easy guidelines to help you pair your bottle with your meal. Today we’ll focus specifically on pairings with white wines for summer.
Wine Pairings Basics:
Match the body of your dish with the body of the wine. Pair delicate white wines with foods of mild flavors and textures and full-bodied whites with richer dishes. A delicate French Sauvignon Blanc with Sole Meuniere (sole in a lemon butter sauce) is a good match for the body of the wine and fish while complementing the citrus notes in the sauce. Conversely, an oaked, full bodied Napa Chardonnay will better pair with roasted chicken or garlic shrimp with a heavy cream sauce.
Pair wines of the world with foods that are grown and produced in the same region. “What grows together goes together,” is a good rule of thumb. If you were in the Loire Valley, you’d enjoy your Sancerre with a goat cheese produced in the region. Visiting Rias Baixas in Spain? A glass of Albariño with a platter of mixed seafood and shellfish from the neighboring Atlantic Ocean would complete your afternoon.
Acidity in wine can be a nice match to the saltiness in food. Caviar and Champagne have long been heralded as a classic pairing. The salty roe and the soaring acidity of the Champagne are beautiful together. If you don’t want to spend big bucks on bubbles and caviar, try a value priced Champagne with some gourmet salty popcorn.
Sweet wines can also pair perfectly with salty foods. A sweet Sauternes wine with a salty Bleu Cheese is an extreme example, but a more subtle demonstration would be a sweet Riesling paired with an Asian ginger chicken with soy sauce.
Now, what are we going to pair our Pedernales wines with? I decided to go with rule #2 and try a dish representative of the area from each grape’s ancestral home. But these grapes are from Texas, and we all know that Texans love tacos! So, I paired each of these lovely Pedernales wines with a both a dish from where the grape originated and a classic Austin taco.
Pedernales Texas High Plains Vermentino 2017
Vermentino is a grape of Mediterranean origin with the most well-known wines hailing from the Island of Sardinia and the Italian coastal area of Liguria. Vermentino is light in body with flavors of citrus, minerality and a slightly bitter almond finish. Pedernales Vermentino displays notes of flint, stone, yellow flowers, ripe green apples and citrus. It has a bit of a richer mouthfeel than some of the Italian Vermentinos, perhaps because a small percentage of this wine was aged in barrel.
Taco pairing: The shredded chicken taco on a corn tortilla topped with onion and cilantro from Lazarus Brewing is a perfect pair. Squeeze a little lime over it and you’re golden. The hint of citrus from the lime is a perfect complement to the acid and citrus flavors in the wine. Pro tip: avoid spicy salsa with this paring since the spice amps up the acid in the wine a bit too much.
Pairing of Place: Liguria is known for pesto Genovese, a sauce made from basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan. The creamy, silky sauce on linguine was divine with the acidity of the Vermentino and the rich mouthfeel of this particular wine.
Pedernales Texas Albariño 2016
Albariño is a grape native to Rias Baixas, in the northeast corner of Spain, on the Atlantic coast. It is light to medium in body and is known for its citrus flavors, stone fruit and a touch of saltiness, thought to be due to its proximity to the sea. It is relatively high in acidity and pairs beautifully with seafood. Pedernales delivers a beautiful wine with notes of nectarine, Meyer lemon and a bit of well-integrated oak notes.
Taco Pairing: Veracruz All Natural has award-winning tacos at locations all over Austin. I chose their fish taco, made with meaty white fish topped with chunks of mango, avocado, tomato and slaw served with a side of chipotle mayo. This taco was a perfect weight match for the wine, and the mango brought out the fruit notes.
Pairing of Place: A simple ceviche, made with white fish, lime juice, olive oil, salt and sliced Serrano peppers tasted absolutely delicious with this wine. The heat of the peppers was not too hot for the wine to handle, and the whole experience transported me back to a lovely seaside café in Spain where I enjoyed a mid-afternoon seafood snack with white wine.
Pedernales Cellars Texas High Plains Reserve Viognier 2017
Viognier is possibly one of my favorite white grapes. The best-known wines hail from the Northern Rhone Valley in southern France. The grape is delightfully floral with scents of honeysuckle and flavors of peach and citrus. It is medium to full bodied with lower acidity. Pedernales produces a gorgeous example that I have long been in love with. It has a full, creamy body, with mango, orange, peach, and flowers on the nose and palate.
Taco Pairing: I chose the Al Pastor (marinated pork with pineapple served with onion and cilantro) taco from Pueblo Viejo. This meaty taco was a perfect weight match for the wine since it stood up to the body of the wine, and the flirty pineapple notes complemented the fruit of the wine.
Pairing of place: If I found myself in southern France, I’d order a Niçoise salad for lunch. Greens, haricot verts, baby potatoes, Niçoise olives, boiled egg, marinated Spanish tuna and a shallot vinaigrette make for a healthy, hearty meal. The full-bodied Viognier was a lovely pair for the tuna, egg and potato in this dish. Given the lower acidity, the wine was not overpowered by the vinaigrette.
Cheers and happy pairings!
No good wine is complete without a good story. In our case, our newest rosé wine was inspired by a tale of love.
Pedernales Cellars is a family-owned winery, and we are extremely proud of that fact! Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, founders of Kuhlken Vineyards and the matriarch and patriarch of our family, have been married for a grand total of 50 years. They met while working for NASA on the Apollo 11 mission and have been together ever since. As they are a stellar (see what we did there?) example of love and loyalty, we decided to dedicate our latest wine release to them: the “Over the Moon” rosé. We wanted this wine to symbolize both their commitment to each other and the foundation of their inspirational relationship.
There’s even more to be “over the moon” about; the stunning flavors of this Rhone-style blend include mouth-watering strawberry, vibrant cherry, and chalky minerality. Made with 100% Texas-grown grapes, it makes an incredible addition to every summer dish, from grilled vegetables to lighter meats and charcuterie. This beautiful rosé is a winery exclusive, and you can now pick up a bottle at either of our tasting rooms!
Join Our Rosé Food and Wine Pairing Experience
To celebrate the release of this wine in the middle of rosé wine season, we are hosting our Rosé Food and Wine Pairing Experience on Sunday, May 19th, 2019 at 2:00 PM. Join us to taste through a flight of several rosés from our library collection paired perfectly with small bites prepared by Chef Leo Aguirre of Fischer and Wieser. For tickets, please visit: /product/Rose--A-Food-and-Wine-Pairing-Experience.
As the scorching Texas summer approaches, we are relishing in the last of the cool springtime breezes, sipping glasses of crisp rosé while snuggling on a rocking chair. Our picturesque Stonewall lawn is still bedecked with the Mother Nature's seasonal jewels: splashes of pink primroses and Indian paintbrushes, brown-eyed Susans and Mexican hats.
Yes, the Hill Country is celebrating its rebirth, and we are honoring this time with a few April events that will allow you enjoy the weather!
At Pedernales Cellars, we know the value of family and are pleased to announce that we are hosting an annual Children’s Easter Egg Hunt, this Sunday (April 21) at 1:30 PM. We will have three simultaneous, yet separate hunts for the following age groups: 2-4 years, 5-7 years, and 8-10 years. What’s more, we will be hiding one “special” egg for each age ranges’ hunt, and the child who finds it will receive a gift basket! Bring your little one to our scenic Stonewall location, and check in at our front podium before 1:30 PM to participate. This event will occur rain or shine, but we are hoping for sun so that you can snap a few Instagram-worthy photos of your child on our flower-covered front lawn.
The following weekend, we are calling all patrons of the arts to come visit us at the Hill Country Film Festival, April 26th-28th at Fritztown Cinema in Fredericksburg, Texas. Buy a badge and get access to exclusive screenings of local as well as international independent films. We are proud to say that we are an annual sponsor of this event and donate towards two of their awards. We will even be hosting a small farewell event at our Stonewall venue; badge holders can join us for a glass of wine, light snacks, a tour of the vineyard, and a panel discussion before heading home.
Whether you're in the mood for family time or an artistic adventure, we will be there, glass of wine at the ready and a big Texas smile on our faces!