Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Things to Come

This Saturday, I was lucky enough to get a bit of insight on what it is coming down the track. At Bending Branch, I was given a full tour, and at Pedernales Cellars, I was given a glimpse.

Bending Branch

As I already mentioned in a quiet little post on Saturday, Bending Branch has a lot of great wine just about to see release. These 2010s will be great pleasers.

The Favorites

Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo will be available quite soon. These two wines, that weren't available to sample just yet, will make their first appearances at the Pearl Farmers Market in San Antonio. Jen heads out every other week to the great spot at the historic Pearl Brewery to sample Texas appellation Bending Branch wines. Right now, they have the Rose (only available at the market) and the new Texas Tannat. And soon, two more will join the assembly (probably just in time for the Rose to disappear).

Some of those barrels say Tempranillo (July 2012).

As for these two, I can conjecture that the Tempranillo is made from grapes grown by respected high plains growers  -- my barrel room visit in July suggests that. With that in mind, there is every indication that we have some great wine coming up. Also, the Cab will likely make its debut at San Antonio Cellar Classic events on Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13. That I am very much looking forward to. In fact, Bending Branch will be a featured Texas winery: great news!

Special Tannats

Vintage Texas Tannat
 First, the Texas Tannat will see two versions this year. The second run of this great wine is coming into its own right now, developing great body and balance; the fruit and oak are beginning to harmonize well. But, that is only the beginning. A Vintage Texas Tannat is on its way. This wine still needs some time in the bottle -- the oak dominates the palate -- but it shows a dark fruit flavor that will be robust and hearty, a good match for the American oak that it was aged in.

From left: Vintage Texas Tannat, Tannat Port (labels are coming), and Chloe Cuvee

The wine that has made a select appearance is the new Tannat port (it was served at the Wine and Tennis Charity dinner). This port is a home run for drinkers like me, and even port lovers like Sean. I get bogged down by the sweetness of so many ports. This port has that, but there is an even tone as the other flavors come through. The fruit has an almost earthy quality -- fresh and dried under the sun -- that takes the sweet edge off. And the sugar that comes through is a rich, deep flavor, one that I would associate with dark desserts like gingerbread or Mexican chocolate. It finishes in a way that makes Sean very happy; there is a deep caramel and pecan hint that lingers at the finish. Sean informed me that good ports should end more like this, a richer sweetness. For me, this richer sweetness made the port more approachable.


At the Pedernales wine club party, winemaker David Kuhlken again treated members to a barrel tasting. This time, we tasted an estate Tempranillo. This wine was still in need of aging (I was told at least six more months), but already, the signature earth and bite of Pedernales' Tempranillo are shining through (like the Bending Branch Tannat, it was still heavy on the oak). David explained that this wine will likely find its way into the reserve blends. These blends are a culmination of what is best about Pedernales wines, and so they are made from some of the best materials. The newer blends will have a strong connection to the earth with the addition of this wine. But what I found interesting was that it had a stronger fruit character than some of their previous Tempranillo's -- something that is evident in the wine club Hill Country Tempranillo released last week. This will likely accentuate the other red grapes likely to find their way into the blends.

Ah, Fall is here and the reds are coming out in force. I am a happy camper. I am more thrilled about what I will be able to take delight in as the year keeps going (or maybe early next year). Honestly, I really excited.

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