Pedernales Cellars just introduced its Texas Viognier Reserve 2014, a lovely white wine made from grapes grown near Lubbock, Texas. This is the third year that Pedernales has made this wine and it has big shoes to fill to meet the expectations set by its older sibling. Huge shoes.
“The 2012 Reserve Viognier put us on the map,” says Fredrik Osterberg, co-founder and president of Pedernales Cellars.
It put Pedernales on the map by winning big at a prestigious international wine competition. The Texas Viognier Reserve 2012 scored a Grand Gold at the 2013 Lyon International Wine Competition, beating the French on its home turf. Will the 2014 vintage be as good?
What is it?
Viognier (pronounced VEE-ohn-yay) is best known for famed wines made in the appellations of Condrieu and Château Grillet in the Northern Rhône valley of France, and it’s widely grown in the United States —particularly in California and Texas. It makes wines with huge perfumey floral aromas of honeysuckle and violets, with a viscous body laden with ripe peaches and apricots.
Where is it grown?
Pedernales Cellars didn’t make this wine in 2013 because of spring freezes in the High Planes. Spring freezes hit again 2014, and some blocks like the Reddy Vineyard Viognier, which was used in the 2012 vintage, were completely iced. Fruit from theBingham Vineyards of the Texas High Plains made it through the nasty weather and into the bottles of the Viognier Reserve 2014.
How is it made?
Winemaker, David Kuhlken, made 960 cases starting by pressing the grapes near the vineyard to limit skin contact. Most of the fermentation took place in stainless steel, while some of it finished fermentation in new French Allier barrels. That portion was aged in barrel four months and blended with the rest of the Viognier which was aged in stainless to add complexity and to the fresh fruit flavors.
What does it taste like?
This new release is just beginning to open, but could use another month or so to fully come alive. It has a rich floral and citrus scent with honey, and bright white peach, grapefruit, lemon zest, vanilla, caramel and toast flavors coming alive on the palate.
This wine could almost be mistaken for a Northern Rhone. In fact, the Pedernales staff held a tasting with nine Viogniers from around the world, including one from France. The French wine was a bit more restrained that the Pedernales, but the two had similar pithy bitterness and fragrance. Wines from California had more prominent violet scents and milder flavors in general.
This very well could be as good as the 2012 vintage.
Despite the age difference, it is clear that the 2014 and 2012 share the same heritage. The Texas Viognier Reserve 2012 now with a little age has honeysuckle, over ripe peach, stewed pear, apricot, butterscotch and baked lemon flavors. It’s flat out delicious.
What goes well with it?
With its lush body, floral aromatics and bold fruit Viognier is well matched with complimentary flavors like sweet and fruity, as well as contrasting foods like spicy and creamy. Try it with dried fruit, like apricots and creamy, pungent cheese like Camembert. Thai food, curries, spicy chicken dishes and wings all go great with the aromatics of Viognier. For desert, pair with with tart and sweet yummies like lemon macarons or candied lemons.
Where to buy it?
The Pedernales Cellars Texas Viognier Reserve 2014 is available at the winery and at t select stores, in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, as well as select locations in West Texas and the Hill Country for ($40). Drink this wine now with the late evening summer sun warming your neck. Better yet, buy a bunch of bottles so you can save some for next summer and a couple for summer 2017.
2916 Upper Albert Road
Stonewall, TX 78671
Tasting Room: 830-644-2037
This story was originally written for and published by Texas Wine & Trail Magazine.
Sample disclaimer: Pedernales Cellars provided a comparative tasting of the 2012 and 2014 Texas Reserve Viognier at no charge.