By now, many wine lovers are aware of the growing stature of Texas as an important American wine region. And this excellent red from one of the state’s top wineries demonstrates why Texas deserves even more attention.
Pedernales Cellars was established in 1995 and specializes in Spanish and Rhône-style wines, sourcing its grapes from vineyards in the Texas High Plains and Texas Hill Country, the state’s two largest winegrowing areas.
With its focus on Spanish and Rhône varieties, Pedernales concentrates on grapes like Tempranillo that are suited to the warm climate of Texas. This is a contrast to some Texas wineries that make more wines in varying styles — perhaps trying to be all things to all people, but sometimes with hit-or-miss results.
The 2018 Pedernales Texas Tempranillo Reserve is a blend of 77 percent Tempranillo, 12 percent Touriga Nacional (a top Portuguese variety), and 11 percent Graciano, which is often combined with Tempranillo in Spain’s Rioja region.
This is a wine of elegance that offers dark fruit aromas and tastes — blackberry, blueberry, and plum — along with touches of cedar and cigar box. The oak influence, from 18 months in French and American barrels, is well integrated. The fruit profile and the oak treatment are reminiscent of Rioja wines.
The wine is a natural pairing for all kinds of meats — including lamb, beef, and pork dishes — as well as hearty vegetarian stews with lentils and mushrooms.
At $50 and available from the winery, consider the Pedernales Texas Tempranillo Reserve an excellent alternative, for one thing, to the sea of California Cabernets out there at the same price point.
Pedernales also produces a superb white Viognier Reserve with lovely floral, stone fruit, and grapefruit notes. These wines offer us something intriguing and a little different from an American wine region that we’ll soon be hearing a lot more about.