Let's Talk over Drinks
Saying that we’ve had an atypical growing season doesn’t really capture the complexity of what we’ve seen in the vineyards in 2021. I think it is more accurate to say this is a very un-Texas harvest.
Let’s start with the biggest weather event of the year, the historic deep freeze in February. Believe it or not, it wasn’t catastrophic. Yes, we lost some vines, but it didn’t necessarily change what the amount or quality of the grapes was this year.
Hailstorms are another story. We completely lost our Teroldego and Sangiovese crop in our estate Kuhlken Vineyard in the Texas Hill Country due to spring hail damage. Sadly, we will not have these two varieties in our 2021 wines. We’ll also have much smaller than desired crops for Graciano and Syrah from the Texas High Plains because of that dastardly hail.
The result of hail and freezes in the spring is that we will have a much smaller overall crop than we had in 2019—which was a big year. However, overall, with fruit from both the Hill Country and High Plains, it will be a larger crop than we had last year.
Perhaps the most un-Texan aspect of this season is the cooler than normal temperatures. We have had far fewer days with temperatures in the 90+ degree range than in a typical season. Less heat means our grapes ripen more slowly. That and the late-season rains have delayed our harvest by a couple of weeks.
We are just getting started with harvest in the Texas Hill Country. We expect to pick Petite Sirah and Carignan next week (mid-August). Thankfully none of our grapes have had serious problems because of the rain, no fungal pressure, or shut down on ripening. Rain has been great for our new vines planted in Kuhlken Estate Vineyard! We only have about a half dozen small blocks to pick various vineyards, so we will be done with our Hill Country yield fairly quickly.
We are keeping our eye on the vineyards in the Texas High Plains. We just got our first round of meaningful chemistry numbers this week, which we usually receive in July. Most grapes just went through veraison in early August, and harvest is three weeks behind. We anticipate picking white grapes first, starting the week of August 23. Tempranillo is the first red grape we’ll pick. Those grapes are starting to put on sugar now. We expect to see them ripen by the first week or two of September.
We are fortunate to have many long-term relationships with growers in the High Plains and are looking at really healthy crops from our traditional blocks at Bingham Family Vineyards and Reddy Vineyards. We’re excited to have Viognier in good quantities after having a shortage of our mainstay varietal in 2020. The Vermentino is looking great as well. We have a couple of blocks of Grenache and Mourvèdre in Desert Willow Vineyard near Seminole, Texas and the vines look amazing this year. We’re really excited about this beautiful crop.
As long as we can avoid late summer storms and heavy rains, the later harvest can mean a fantastic 2021 harvest. Having our crop hanging later into the season brings the promising potential for balanced chemistry as the grapes ripen. The cooler temperatures and cooler nights allow the grapes to retain their natural acidity really well while the grapes achieve phenolic ripeness and gain more sugar. We’re usually racing to pick the grapes that are ripening very quickly in high temperatures.
It may be an Un-Texas Harvest in many ways, but what remains incredibly Texan is that our vineyard manager, our growers, and our cellar team are all pulling out the stops to ensure we have the best quality grapes in the winery as possible. We’re optimistic for a great 2021 vintage.
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.
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.
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.
April has kept us busy at Pedernales Cellars, with spring weather drawing guests to our winery, Wine Club members pickup party, and planting new vines at Kuhlken Vineyards!
Winemaker, president, and co-founder David Kuhlken and vineyard manager Evan McKibben have been busy in our Kuhlken Estate Vineyards this season. The vineyard team has planted more 5,000 vines this year to replace underperforming vines and to expand acreage under vine. To ensure the new vines have a good start in the infertile soil and degraded sandstone in Kuhlken Vineyards, we spread a manure compost with our mulch spreader.
Our site, located in Bell Mountain American Viticultural Area, was originally planted in 1995 and is a fantastic location to grow Mediterranean grape varietals. This season we planted Grenache, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre, and Sangiovese.
Some of the new vines replace vines that have been damaged in severe weather. Evan McKibben said, “We have already seen that some vines planted last year did not survive. In addition to the damage to young plants, we had more damage in the Tempranillo mature vines than in any other variety. Fortunately, the Albariño fruit looks really good. We are mainly focused on new plantings for the next three years for expansion rather than to replace vines. We had forecast a light fruit load this year, so the freeze we had did not affect us much. We should have a great fruit set for the 2023 harvest and then build steadily from there.”
David Kuhlken sees a program of steady planting next spring and in the coming years.
“Going forward we will still have many of the same varieties with the replant. Namely, Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Amarela. But we are adding blocks of Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, and Graciano to the mix, reflecting the things that have proven consistent complements in our most exclusive reserve wine called KO and Reserve programs. We also have increased the amount of Sangiovese because it really has been a great variety in the Hill Country.
Grenache will take a few years to be mature enough to stand on its own. Joanna and I both really love Grenache for a varietal red, so the long-term goal would be to have it in the program as a standalone. Still, that could be several years down the road when it comes to the new estate planting. In fact, 2021 is the last year for the old Grenache block, and yields are quite low. In the interim, we might have Grenache from the High Plains as a varietal red.
Evan has been literally transforming things at the estate and has done an incredible amount of work these past 4 months. I will add about the planting this year, that Evan and our team will also plant 1,000 more Touriga vines, bringing the total up to 6,000 vines in 2021.
Have you ever visited a vineyard, worked on planting vines, or harvesting grapes? Follow Evan on Instagram, @vineyardevan, to see photos and videos of all of our vineyard projects. You can also follow the main Pedernales Cellars Instagram account for updates.
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!
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.
We are excited to introduce our new Tasting Room Manager, Cathy Martell, who just joined the team at Pedernales Cellars.
Cathy’s role at Pedernales Cellars marks a “coming home” of sorts. Originally from Wisconsin, Cathy has called the Texas Hill Country home since 2004. But not full time.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a bachelor's degree in recreation management, which was a launching pad for a career in the hospitality industry, and has an excellent educational background to prepare her to manage our tasting room. Following graduation, she landed a full-time position in Texas at the historic Y.O. Ranch where she ran Y.O. Ranch Adventure Camp.
In 2012 Cathy accepted a seasonal job as the general manager of the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, a remote resort in Alaska. She has spent the last nine years wintering in Texas and working the warmer months at the resort in Alaska where she managed two full-service restaurants and led the operations of the entire resort. In this role, she oversaw a major upgrade of the facilities.
A Growing Passion for Wine
In her role at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, Cathy was responsible for selecting the wines to pair with the all-inclusive meals. She relished the opportunity to learn about wine and experimenting with the perfect pairings.
“I really fell in love with wine while working in Alaska,” said Cathy. “I attended the annual wine shows and had the opportunity to meet with several representatives from wineries and learned more about wine. I also worked closely with my previous boss, a sommelier, to do wine training for our staff. That was a fascinating part of the job that spurred a much deeper curiosity about the world of wine.”
That fascination with wine was further fueled by trips to Spain and Italy where she experienced an exquisite wine pairing dinner at a Michelin star restaurant and visits to family-owned wineries. In her travels she had the opportunity to learn about and experience how the climates and soils of various regions impact the flavors of wine.
“I have an Italian heritage, and true to that cultural identity, I love to eat and drink,” says Cathy. “Wine and food bring people together. My first trip to Italy really inspired me to keep pursuing an interest in wine. The more I learned, the more I realized there is always more to learn about wine. I’ve been to Italy four times now and love exploring wine.”
Cathy recently felt the pull of Texas hospitality and made the decision to pursue a new job in the hospitality industry that would keep her in the Lone Star State full time. As chance would have it, we had an opening at Pedernales Cellars that is an excellent fit for her background and expertise.
“Working at a winery in the Hill Country is a really exciting opportunity,” said Cathy. Just driving through the Texas Hill Country to Stonewall for my interview with Pedernales Cellars was amazing. It was a wonderful reminder of how the beautiful scenery drew me to Texas in the first place.”
Cathy has already become an integral part of our team in just the first week on the job. She is a great fit, and genuinely gets a rush from spending time with our guests.
“I love having the opportunity to meet tasting room guests and Pedernales Cellars Wine Club members,” said Cathy. “It is an absolute joy. I’m excited by the focus on wine education here. I’m really looking forward to continuing to learn about wine—particularly experiencing how wine is made—and helping our customers learn more about wine too. The passion of the team is so contagious, and I’m so glad to be in Texas working with a family-owned winery.”
Cathy will help shape how we continue to evolve our guest experience as the pandemic restrictions change. She will be instrumental in planning live music and entertainment that tie in well with our focus on wine education and exceptional guest experiences.
If ever there were a year to count our blessings and celebrate the little victories in life, 2020 is the one. This year’s trials and tribulations serve as a great reminder to recognize our friends and family with a gift to acknowledge how much we genuinely care for each other.
Finding the perfect gift can sometimes be perplexing. Pro tip: Wine works for nearly everyone on your list! May we suggest some Pedernales Cellars wine? Our wines come in numerous varieties and price points, are easy to order and have shipped (eliminating the need to go into a store), and taste crazy delicious. Problem solved!
Here are our gift suggestions for your friends and family:
Impress Them on a Budget — Pedernales Cellars High Plains Tempranillo
Giving an incredible gift doesn’t require you to break the bank. Our Pedernales Cellars High Plains Tempranillo is an excellent wine that’s sure to impress at a modest price. We make it with grapes grown in three prestigious vineyards in the Texas High Plains and lovingly age it for a year in American Oak. It has a deep ruby color with a classic bouquet of leather, cigar, cherry, blackberry, and cedar, with bright cherry flavor and earth notes. It’s a gift-worthy wine with medium tannins, balanced acidity, and a soft mouthfeel with lingering cocoa notes. It pairs really well with Prime Rib for Christmas dinner. Our High Plains Tempranillo would make old St. Nick proud.
Impress Your Boss — 2016 Family Reserve
For the difficult-to-impress people on your gift list, bust out our 2016 Family Reserve. This wine lets our winemakers’ artistry shine through by blending our favorite lots of the best fruit from some of our favorite growers. The Family Reserve has been one of our most beloved wines to make, as it lets us show off the finest aspects of each vintage using intentionally nontraditional blends of grapes. This vintage is led by Tempranillo and Malbec along with Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Merlot, and Sangiovese, giving the wine complex aromas of cherries, raspberries, black pepper, cocoa, anise, with floral notes. It is a medium-bodied wine with dried strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and black pepper, with hints of dried herbs and cocoa flavors. The recipient of this gift will be excited to enjoy this bottle today, or to age for years to come.
To Win the White Elephant — Glögg and Ginger Snaps
White Elephant gift exchanges are notorious for quirky presents. Adding our Stonewall Glögg, a Swedish-style mulled wine, brings something unique wine to the party that stands out from the gag gifts. This is Christmas in a bottle, complete with comforting baking spices like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. We love Glögg paired with Swedish spiced holiday cookies, so it’s a great idea to throw in a package of Ginger Snaps with your gift.
For the True Wine Lover — Pedernales Cellars Wine Club Membership
If you have a real wine lover on your gift list, consider giving them the gift that keeps on giving with a Pedernales Cellars Wine Club Membership. We offer three different club tiers, each providing members with quarterly shipments of our wines meticulously selected by our winemakers. Each club tier comes with additional perks that will continue to remind your gift recipient of how much they mean to you.
For the Bubbly Lover — Kyla Pét-Nat Rosé
A great gift for the sparkling wine fanatics in your life is the Pedernales Cellars Kyla (pronounced, “shoola”) Pétillant Naturel Rosé sparkling wine made with 100% estate-grown Tempranillo. This is an incredibly joyful wine any time of the year, and it adds pizzazz to the holidays. Its vibrant effervescence, cheery cherry and cranberry flavors, and gorgeous pink color make it a star to include under any Christmas tree. Kyla Pét-Nat Rosé is only available in the tasting room, not online. Please call the tasting room at (830) 644-2037 to reserve a bottle or case for curbside pickup.
For the Last-Minute Gift — Dreaming of a Wine Christmas Special
We all get busy during the holidays. To make things easier for you, we have created a one-stop-shop for a 3-Bottle Dreaming of a Wine Christmas Special. With a couple of clicks, send these three food-friendly wines to each of your friends. This special holiday bundle highlights the history of the Kuhlken family, who migrated to Texas in 1853, paving the way for sixth-generation Texans, Julie and David Kuhlken, to plant vines in the Hill Country in 1995. The Dreaming of a Wine Christmas Includes one bottle each:
- 2017 Cuvée 1853
- 2017 Newsom Vineyards North Block
- 2018 Texas Albariño
We wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season. We welcome you to explore our wines to come up with your own gift-giving ideas: /Wines. Cheers!
We’ve all heard ad-nauseum that 2020 has been a challenging year. Yes, it has. This year for safety reasons, many of us are avoiding large family or Friendsgiving gatherings. Without a big group, it might not make a whole lot of sense to roast an enormous turkey and make all of the traditional dishes. That certainly doesn’t mean we can’t have a festive meal paired with excellent wines.
Here are a few non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner and wine pairings for your consideration.
Pedernales Cellars 2018 Texas High Plains Viognier Reserve and Chinese Carryout
Of course, Viognier is a perfect pairing with traditional Thanksgiving turkey, but if you are skipping the big bird this year, you might try Chinese carryout. After all, many Chinese restaurants are open for the holiday. Our 2018 Viognier Reserve has the toasted oak notes from partial French Oak fermentation, complementing the caramel and brown sugar notes that naturally occur in that wine. The fragrant stone fruit and honeysuckle-like perfumes mingled with gorgeous vanilla, roasted pineapple, and lemongrass flavors, plus a balanced acidity make it a scrumptious pairing with Chinese food.
Chinese cooking often has sweetness balanced by mild bitterness and saltiness in dishes like chicken with gingery or citrusy syrups. The richness of flavors and velvety texture of Viognier is highly complementary to these flavors and contributes an exotic note to this non-traditional pairing.
Pedernales Cellars 2017 Texas GSM Melange and BBQ
If you want turkey for Thanksgiving without roasting your own, while not buy a pound or three from your favorite barbecue restaurant. Bold food calls for bold wine. Our 2017 GSM Melange, made with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (oh, and we also include Carignan, Cinsault, and Petit Sirah), has the bright red fruit flavors, zippy acidity, and medium body that make it a delightful pairing with a wide range of BBQ favorites, including smoked turkey and brisket.
The 2017 GSM is medium to medium-plus in body with bright acidity and balanced tannins. This complex blend has both big berried fruity notes of juicy strawberry, red cherries, and blueberries along with floral, leather, cocoa, and smoky notes that absolutely go well with the smoky flavors and hint of sweetness of BBQ.
Pedernales Cellars 2017 Texas Tempranillo Reserve and Tex-Mex
Tex-Mex is a culinary staple in Texas, and many restaurateurs remain open on the holiday for carryout orders. Our 2017 Tempranillo Reserve, a full-flavored Rioja-esque wine, is an excellent pairing with the strong flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine. This Tempranillo has beautiful aromas of blackberry, black cherry, vanilla, and leather, and it is loaded with the jammy dark fruit flavors of black raspberry and cherry, along with cigar, cocoa, and vanilla. A small amount of Carignan grapes and aging in French Oak adds to the complexity of the wine.
A cold beer may seem like it is better suited to enjoy with Tex-Mex than wine. However, our Tempranillo Reserve is a very food-friendly wine. When pairing wine with this cuisine, focus the pairing on the most dominant flavor or sauce in the dish. If smoky, earthy chipotle, achiote, or pasilla chiles or grilled meats are dominating the flavors, then Tempranillo is the right match. The fruity flavors and soft tannins tame the spiciness a bit. Also, to make a better pairing, go easy on the hot sauce.
Pumpkin Pie and Glögg
You have to have pumpkin pie to complete Thanksgiving dinner. In the spirit of easiness during the pandemic, pick up a pre-made pie. Sweet foods pair best with sweet wines of equal or greater sweetness. Plus, who can resist ending a meal with a delicious dessert wine? Our Stonewall Glögg, a Swedish mulled wine, has flavors of baking spices like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, all of which are found in a pumpkin pie. This is a perfect way to complete your carryout Thanksgiving feast.
Have fun exploring ways to have a festive, non-traditional Thanksgiving feast. We hope these pairing ideas have inspired you. By all means, load up your shopping cart with our wines: /Wines.
Love them or hate them, you have to admit that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are the quintessential fall beverage. Its wild popularity is no doubt earned from the cozy, warm, traditional spice flavors that are uniquely tied to autumn.
Like the ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice Latte, the Pedernales Cellars Stonewall Glögg is incredibly appropriate for the season. The similarities don’t stop there. Our Glogg is also bursting with fun seasonal holiday flavors of baking spice like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. And it is also only available for a limited time.
While Glögg is traditionally served at Christmas, it has also become a tradition for us to release Glögg at the end of Texas Wine Month, leaving plenty of time to purchase it before the holiday rush. Let’s face it, there is no reason to wait for Christmas to crack a bottle or two. This year, we are releasing our Glögg online and at the Pedernales Cellars tasting room on October 31.
What the Heck is Glögg Wine?
Glögg is the Swedish version of mulled wine. The Romans got the ball rolling for mulled wine by warming their wines in the winter to ward off sickness. Then, Europeans began adding spices to support their immune systems during cold and flu season. In the late 1800’s, a Cognac-Glögg was introduced and became associated with the holidays. Clearly, Glögg had a huge head-start on pumpkin spice lattes.
I lived in Sweden for several years and developed an affinity for Swedish-style mulled wine over mulled wine from other countries like Glühwein from Germany. Glühwein is primarily spiced with cinnamon, but traditional Swedish-style Glögg is more complex with cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg in the mix.
We’ve been making Glögg at Pedernales Cellars since 2009, and we are proud to be one of the first to make a traditional style mulled wine from Texas. We made our Glögg with a base wine blend of Tempranillo, Malbec, and Merlot this year. We make it in a Port wine style, and like other fine Ports, our base wine for the Glögg doesn’t go through a complete fermentation. We stop the fermentation when the ideal sugar level is reached by adding a dose of brandy. This addition of spirits stops the fermentation by putting the wine yeasts to sleep, so they stop converting sugar to alcohol. The result is a sweeter wine with a slightly higher alcohol content.
We then infuse the wine with our proprietary blend of Swedish spices that gives the Glögg an incredibly complex aroma bursting with holiday scents you will love. The flavor is absolutely “Christmas in a bottle.”
How to prepare Glögg
We warm our Glögg in a slow cooker set on low. While warming the wine, add sugar (1/4 - 1/2 cup per bottle of wine) depending on your taste. We also add dark raisins and almond slivers for flavor. Ladle the wine into mugs and serve hot with toasted almonds and dark raisins to garnish, and add citrus if desired.
Glögg is excellent on its own as an apéritif or a dessert. It also pairs incredibly well with cinnamon buns or gingerbread.
Cooking with Glögg
While it’s fantastic as a drink with dessert, it is also wonderful to include as an ingredient with dessert. We are fortunate to have Chef Leo Aguirre (eatfbgtx.com) preparing a Mexican Chocolate Cake made with Stonewall Glögg to serve at our Fall Feast on October 31. Chef Leo chose the cake to pair with Glögg for our dessert course for the complimentary flavors of chocolate infused with cinnamon. To enhance the marriage of flavors, he will make a reduction sauce with the Glögg to drizzle onto the cake, garnished with cocoa dust and black cherries marinated in the wine.
Glögg is also a fun ingredient for home chefs to use for any course of your meal. Cheer up a holiday salad with Glögg vinaigrette. Sweeten the main course with a delightful demi-glace to serve on pork loin.
Don’t worry if you open a bottle for cooking and don’t finish it the same night. The slightly higher alcohol content from the brandy helps it stay fresh for up to a week or so.
Glöggfest at Pedernales Cellars
Our Annual Glöggfest is an excellent way for you to try our Glögg and experience its magic. Reserve a tasting for Saturday, December 5, between 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM at our estate tasting room to sample Glögg paired with Swedish spiced holiday cookies. It is a great accompaniment to your holiday festivities, and at $20 per bottle, it is also a great gift.
Like the Pumpkin Spice Latte, our Glögg will be gone before you know it. It typically sells out before holidays, as we only make a small amount. Get it while you can!
“We have a Glögg order with extra spice ready at the bar for Jooolie!”