Life is like a bottle of Texas wine. You never know what you can pair it with. These fine wines from Pedernales Cellars may just surprise the spice out of you in 3 ways.
Disclosure: I received three bottles of wine from Pedernales Cellars as media samples. All opinions are my own.
Pedernales means "flint" in Spanish. The name pays homage to the Indian flint arrowhead found on the vineyard as well as the Pedernales River that runs through Texas Hill Country.
It is in the Hill Country near Fredericksburg, TX where the founder's parents, of Kuhlken Vineyards, started planting grapes in the early 1990s.
After trying out various grapes and viticultural techniques, they were able to produce consistent, high quality fruit from soil that eventually became the Bell Mountain AVA.
While there are many wineries in Texas, Pedernales Cellars is dedicated to making small lot wines sourced from grapes grown in Texas terroir rather than importing them from other states.
Pairing Texas Fine Wine with Spice
Having visited tasting rooms in Texas Hill Country and Grapevine, TX, I noticed that the whites tend to be bold while the reds skew on the lighter side.
For this pairing exercise with the Pedernales Cellars Viognier, Rose and GSM blend, I had some idea of what to pair each with prior to tasting and thought they would play nice with spice.
Gosh I got these pairings all wrong on the first try.
What I initially thought would go together actually worked better with a different wine. With a little swapping to my surprise, this spice exploration turned into a pleasing plot twist.
Spice #1 - Dry Spice
Does everyone have a nice a curry powder in their pantry?
I thought that curry spiced seafood would pair with the Viognier, but these Indian spices actually played better with the minerality in the Rosé.
2018 Over the Moon Rosé
A beautiful blush pink, this rosé is dedicated to matriarch and patriarch of the family behind Pedernales Cellars.
Larry and Jeanine Khulken met while working on the Apollo 11 mission at Nasa. They eventually decided to start planting grapes in Texas and have now been married for 50 years.
According to their website, this wine was "meant to symbolize both their commitment to each other and the foundation of their inspirational relationship.”
Dominated by minerality, medium acid, and a hint of strawberry, I think this allowed the complexity of the curry spice to shine rather than clash with competing fruit and aromatics. It also made the wine fuller bodied and a little more fruity.
Spice #2 - Fresh Spice
Fresh spice is found in fresh chiles and other vegetables such as ginger.
Ginger is minced into so many cuisines and so often paired with pork with Asian cuisines, such as these pork and ginger gyoza.
I thought the pork would pair with red wine, such as the GSM blend, but it actually tasted much better with the Viognier.
2017 Texas High Plains Reserve Viognier
This Viognier is bright, big, and bold. It signs with tropical fruit, peach, honeysuckle, and a wisp of cotton candy.
Full bodied and smooth with low acidity, it melded together with the oil and fat in the pork dumpling along but still allowed the fresh ginger to peek through.
The winery also recommended "heavier" foods with the Viognier on their blog such as:
- Beef burger
- Veggie burger
- Fried chicken
- Cuban sandwich
- Tuna Nicoise Salad
- Tacos Al Pastor - the pork marinated in pineapple echoes that in the wine
- Turkey and mashed potatoes - this has "a lovely viscosity that will mimic the weight of the food"
Spice #3 - Liquid Spice
The last exploration of spice is found in our beloved hot sauces.
I thought that a sriracha spiced salmon would pair with the rosé, but I was very pleased to find that it matched beautifully with the GSM, much like the classic pairing of salmon and pinot noir.
A very light bodied blend of primarily Grenach, Syrah, and Cinsault, the little bit of tannin and bright acid lifted the fat in the king salmon. The tannin, however, was not too heavy for the heat in the sriracha sauce.
2017 Texas GSM Melange
A blend of 5 grapes, Pedernales Cellars ferments each varietal separately and meticulously plans their percentages prior to harvest.
After spending hours testing and tasting the perfect blend of the five grapes, the wines usually rest in the bottle for six months to "ensure that their molecules can fully integrate."
Due to the blend, this wine has a little bit of everything: cherry, raspberry, cranberry and a hint of smoke and white pepper. The structure, acid, and tannins are light and would match easily with most foods.
In fact, the winery recommends this with "Just about anything!"
Top Texas Wine Takeaways
- Don't be surprised if the white wines are bolder than the reds.
- While some Texas wineries import grapes from other states, Texas Fine Wines sources from Texas grown grapes.
- Texas wine laws prevent shipping wine into and out of the state, so it can be difficult to source these wines outside of Texas.
- When pairing Texas wine, a Texas shaped cutting board really enhances the food pairing experience.
More Texas Fine Wine
To learn more about wines from the Lone Star state, check out these Wine Pairing Weekend (#winepw) writers:
- A Taste of Texas Wines by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- A TexMex Fiesta featuring Texas Tannat by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Cooking to the Wine: Duchman Family Winery Texas Aglianico with Instant Pot Brisket by Somm's Table
- Don’t Mess with Texas: Two Reds from Bending Branch Winery Paired with Sliders by Wine Predator
- Duchman Family Winery - Exploring Texas Wines With Italian Grape Varieties by Syrah Queen
- Low and Slow Grilling with Texas Wines by FoodWineClick!
- Oven Roasted Sirloin Steak with Onion Sauce and Texas Wine by Cooking Chat
- Rooting for Emerging Wine Regions: Celebrating Texas Wine With Our Everyday Meals by the Traveling Wine Profs
- Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragù with Texas Montepulciano by Always Ravenous
- Spicewood Vineyards: A Taste of Texas for #WinePW by The Swirling Dervish
- Texas Connections, Beef Flautas, and Bending Branch's Tannat by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- #Texasfinewine Pedernales GSM, Rose, Viognier with Dim Sum by Chinese Food and Wine Pairings
- Texas Wine Pairing with Pedernales Wines and ParmesanCrusted Chicken by Vino Travels
- The Texas Wine Party Continues with Fall Creek Vineyards by The Corkscrew Concierge
- Tuscan Farro With Texan Vermentino by Avvinare
- Uh, oh! My Texas Wine Craves Barbecue by My Full Wine Glass
Related Food & Wine Pairing Posts
Gerard Bertrand Rosé Paired with Subtly Spiced Shrimp
Oregon Orange Wine Sparkles with Indian Curry
Ricasoli Chianti Paired with Tomatoes 3 Ways
Do you love Texas? Spread the ♥, and please share!
Cynthia and Pierre says
Love this approach, Deanna! Wine pairing recommendations are often so shy and limited about spices in general, often referring to "spice" as one thing. So great to see your recommendations to experiment here.
Pinny Yinching says
Love how you played with different forms of spices. Great pairing ideas too!
Thank you Pinny!
Sounds like you had an interesting time with this one! Glad you found some good pairings even if they weren't what was planned. Interesting that they suggest foods like burger with the Viogners.
I thought that was interesting too. Thanks so much for stopping by!
MARTIN D REDMOND says
What a great post Deanna. I love how you organize the pairings around a dominant spice or sauce. Great insight on the Texas whites being potentially being bigger than the red. That was the case with my samples. How long ago did you taste in Texas, and does that explain the Texas shaped cutting board?;-)
Lol, I visited last year and tasted wines in hill country and Grapevine. Really feels different to taste the wine where it's grown since you get a feel for the climate and the people. Highly recommend visiting!
Linda Whipple, CSW says
I also found it true that whites tend to be bold while the reds on the light side. Love the Texas cutting board!
Thank you Linda!
Nicole Ruiz Hudson says
I loved the detail about Larry and Jeanine Khulken meeting while working for Apollo -- how cool! I also found the tasting exploration so interesting. The fact that things don't always match the way one thinks is one of the things that keeps so interested in wine pairing!
Never a dull moment in wine pairing, and you always learn something. Thanks for the nice comment!
Wendy Klik says
Great experimentation with the pairings. I'm glad that you didn't give up after pairing your original concept and found a pairing that was better suited. Bravo.
Thank you Wendy!
Sounds like you had fun switching the wines around between the anticipated pairing and the "real world works" pairing!
I did, and thank goodness all the food was there together to play mix and match. Thanks for reading!
Great pairings! I would have never thought of the salmon with the GSM.
Me neither. Thanks so much for reading!
I loved the trial-and-error nature of this post. Just goes to show you that there is indeed a Texas wine for every dish! P.S. Your Texas-shaped cutting board was a nice addition to the photos.
Thank you Lauren! I do think Texas wines are very versatile for pairing with food.