Pedernales Cellars

Let's Talk over Drinks

 

Julie Kuhlken
November 16, 2018

Food by itself is fine. Wine by itself is great. Wine and food paired well together is divine. Wine is an essential element of a meal that will elevate the dining experience to new heights, amplifying taste and sensation of every bite. We invite you to experience the magic of that perfect pairing for Thanksgiving Dinner. Here are a few guidelines to help you choose the right bottle for your holiday meal:

Rule #1: Pair wine and food of the same “weight.” Heavier dishes call for a fuller-bodied wine, while delicate dishes beg not to be overwhelmed and prefer a lighter style of wine. We’ve all heard the age-old argument: “white meat with white wine” and “red meat with red wine,” and this rule is actually based on science. For example, fish’s mercury levels will often interact with compounds (like tannin) in red wine and cause the wine to taste metallic. So, it’s better to pair it with a wine without tannin. Cue the white wine. On the other hand, red meat is great with red wine because the meat’s protein plugs the tannin receptors in one’s palate, causing the wine to seem smoother than it actually is. A Thanksgiving turkey happens to be an in-between meat with white meat that is enhanced by both white wines, and lovely with lighter-style red wines, as well as dark meat that loves a lusher bodied red.

Rule #2: Fatty foods pair well with acidic wines. Think of the vibrant acidity in a wine as the “palate cleanser” between bites, allowing your taste buds to reset and not be weighed down by richness. A bright white wine is scrumptious with mashed potatoes dressed with turkey gravy.

Rule # 3: Spicy foods pair well with sweet wines. Chili heat in food will cause dry wines to taste bitter, acidic, and astringent, so it’s better to choose a bottle with some residual sugar in order to avoid this affect. An off-dry wine will be fantastic with spicy brussels sprouts.

Rule #4: Like relationships with your family at Thanksgiving, wine can be paired well when it either compliments or contrasts with the food you are serving. Sometimes a perfect pairing is one that is complimentary: the flavors of the dish are mirrored in the wine, such as a lemon butter sauce paired with a buttery Chardonnay with notes of lemon. In other cases, contrasting flavors go extremely well together, like a semi-sweet Riesling with salty bleu cheese.

Rule #5: Sweet foods pair best with sweet wines of equal or greater sweetness. We know that it’s sometimes difficult to justify pouring a sweet dessert wine when there’s already so much sugar in pastry items, but sugar in food will react with your dry wines in a way to make it seem bitter and unpleasant. Plus, who can resist ending a meal with a delicious dessert wine?

Keeping these rules in mind, we have created a few pairing recommendations for your Thanksgiving dinner:

Thanksgiving Turkey and Pedernales Cellars 2016 Viognier Reserve

Of course, we had to start with the main staple: turkey. Whether you are roasting it or frying it, the richness and juiciness of the turkey will be so delightful with Viognier, as the wine has a lovely viscosity that will mimic the weight of the food. Try it with mashed potatoes, too!

Roast Beef and 2016 Valhalla

This red blend, made with all Italian grape varieties, has a lively acidity and mouth-watering brightness that will slice through the heaviness of roast beef.

Pecan Pie and Pedernales Cellars Texas Dulce

Remember, sweet wines are a must with sweet foods. The nuttiness of the wine combines with honeyed and caramel flavors, mirroring the classic pecan pie flavors. This is truly a comparison of flavor that’s guaranteed to delight!

Pumpkin Pie and Glögg

Glögg is a Swedish mulled wine that we sell only during the holiday season. It has flavors of baking spice like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, all of which are found in a pumpkin pie. Indulge in a glass and a slice this holiday season; you won’t regret it!

We hope that you enjoy these pairing suggestions and that you feel emboldened to create your own, both during the holidays and beyond! Check out our full list of wines here: /Wines

Nov 16, 2018 at 1:16 PM
Julie Kuhlken
October 24, 2018

In the wine world, complexity is king.

Wines that exude one, two, or even three flavor characteristics are described as “simple," “quaffable," even (more harshly) “uninteresting.” Ouch. These are often mass-produced, bulk wines with little personality and a lower price tag. They don’t inspire contemplation, they don’t make your eyes wide with wonder.

On the other hand, complex wines are bursting with not just intensity, but a myriad of flavors. In a red wine, it is everything from strawberry to tobacco, baking spices to wet slate. Perhaps there are floral notes — red rose and violet — or hints of oak barrel use, like vanilla and toasted coconut. All of these flavors are akin to dozens of individual instruments combining to play a grand symphony on your taste buds, an unforgettable harmony of flavor that’s sure to leave you speechless.

For these reasons, complexity in a wine indicates higher quality. Complexity is why people like you drink wine. It is the “wow” factor. There are a few ways winemakers achieve complexity: diligent grape growing practices, careful fermentation, and blending.

Blending two or more grape varieties to make a finished wine has been a common winery practice for centuries. The most famous examples are Bordeaux wines made from blends of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc and Champagne made from blends of mostly Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. There are 13 grape varieties blended into Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley of France. Wines from famous regions like Chianti, Port, and Rioja are blends, too!

At Pedernales Cellars, we consider blending a powerful tool. We select grapes that individually add a different element and harmoniously enhance characteristics of each other in the finished wine. We call that “blending up”, meaning that we make sure that blend is stronger than its individual parts. Getting just the right balance is an absolute art.

Some single varieties are remarkable on their own, while others are even better with a partner. GSM blends, popular in the southern Rhône Valley, are a perfect example. Mimicking this famous style, we created the 2016 GSM Melange, a blend of 5 (yes, 5!) different grape varietals: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre (these first 3 are the GSM component), Carignan, and Tannat. Let’s break this blend down:

  • Grenache exudes rich red fruits: strawberry, cherry, and ripe raspberry. It can also add some white pepper and an inherent silkiness in a blend.
  • Syrah is often inky dark in color, with high acid and tannin and deep, expressive flavors of blackberry and black pepper.
  • Mourvèdre can add a gamey quality, like smoked meats, along with darker fruits like blueberry and dark cherry. Like Syrah, it is also deep in color and tannic.
  • Carignan lends vibrant cranberry notes, along with some liquorice.
  • Tannat is quite structured and tannic and is contributing to the “backbone” of the wine. Without acid and tannin, wines seem “flabby” and disjointed, which is far from an ideal quality in a premium, handcrafted product.

You can imagine that, when we combine these varieties, the results are incredible. We love the intricacies of a blended wine and the freedom to experiment with certain varieties, whether they are French or Italian. While some wineries "throw together" red blends with leftover varieties, we start by meticulously planning our blends' grape percentages before harvest even begins.

We choose to ferment each variety separately, giving us more control and consistency from year-to-year and allowing us to experiment with ratios during the blending process. Because different grape varieties ripen at various points in the season, fermenting them alone allows us to pick them at optimal ripeness, completely independent of other varieties.

In general, we start finalizing the percentages of our blends a few months before we intend to bottle using both taste trials and chemistry analysis. Always determined to ensure that you receive the best possible wines, we often will spend hours sampling various combinations. Surprisingly, an adjustment as little as a percent or two of one grape can make a huge difference in the final product! Post blending, our wines then typically rest in bottle for six months before sale to ensure that their molecules can fully integrate.

While we prize our 100% Tempranillo and Viognier, we also enjoy the intrigue that blending offers our guests. We invite you to taste through our selection when you visit us next. Just between you and me, we are working on a new project that will return the blend to barrel for further aging. You'll have to stay tuned for more information about that!

Oct 24, 2018 at 8:00 AM
Julie Kuhlken
October 31, 2016

D Magazine's regular articles about What to Drink Now turns to Texas whites wines and gives a nod to Pedernales Cellars Texas Viognier.  "Layered with crisp Granny Smith apple, tropical guava and papaya and a touch of honeysuckle, melding into lemon custard and honey on the back palate. $17, available at Pogo’s."  Click here to read the full article.

Oct 31, 2016 at 1:49 PM
Julie Kuhlken
October 31, 2016

The San Antonio Express News weekend edition offers three great beef recipes along with Texas wine pairings that bring out the best of their flavors.  With Oven Texas Barbeque Beef Brisket it is recommended that you pair Pedernales Cellars Texas Tempranillo to bring out the rich beefiness of the dish. With a savory Lone Star Beef and Veggie Burger you should have a glass of Pedernales Cellars Texas Viognier.  The full-bodied character of the Texas Viognier complements the combination of fresh veggies and Texas beef.  

Oct 31, 2016 at 12:41 PM
Julie Kuhlken
October 28, 2016

"Texas is big, no news there, but it’s so big that two of our American Viticulture Areas (AVA) in the state are actually two of the largest in the country, encompassing both currently planted vineyards and overall space. Of the eight federally approved AVAs in the state, the Texas Hill Country AVA covers 15,000-square-miles in 22 different counties, created in 1991. Not long after that the Texas High Plains AVA was approved, covering 12,000-square-miles in the area in and around the Panhandle of Texas, Lubbock and Amarillo."  Read more.

Oct 28, 2016 at 11:07 AM
Julie Kuhlken
July 28, 2016

Texas Wine Lover visits Highway 290 looking for new ways to experience Texas wine. He catalogs the range of upscale tastings, including Pedernales Cellars' Reserve Tasting, available in Texas wine country. Click here to read the full article.

Jul 28, 2016 at 1:22 PM