The Texas wine industry will be talking about 2015 for many years to come. 2015 will be the best Texas wine vintage of the century. We had a mild spring, escaping the treacherous late spring frost, we had tame temperatures through the growing season and a later than normal harvest. Growers and winemakers are on cloud nine, they are blessed with quantity and quality. Perfect vintages or near perfect vintages are few and far between, especially in Texas, and it has been incredible to witness.  We should all enjoy it and never forget it.

While this vintage is in the glowing sun, I ask you to look carefully. Just above the horizon is a full moon rising, reflecting the light of this vintage. It’s own beauty should not be overlooked.  This moon is the industry itself, waxing into maturity, coming off some difficult vintages, lessons learned from past mistakes and turning the tide of consumer knowledge in favor of the grapes that grow best in Texas.

Pedernales Cellars En Primeur Release

One event that brought this whole picture into focus for me was on October 3, 2015, at the Pedernales Cellars winery just outside of Stonewall. The special occasion was the release dinner for their new allocated wines with the Kuhlken-Osterberg label. They are only available through the purchase of futures. The dinner was hosted in the winery itself, up the hill from the tasting room.  Barrels were moved to the side and linen covered tables were neatly arranged with shiny happy centerpieces. A classic music trio played for the gathered Texas wine enthusiasts. An exquisite wine dinner by Sullivan Street Caterers of Blanco. Everything you could want at a wine event anywhere in the world.

Our hosts, Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, planted their vineyards in the Bell Mountain American Viticultural Area in the early 1990s. Their children, David and Julie, along with their spouses, Heather Kuhlken and Fredrik Osterberg, were present, too. While the reason for the gathering is the new wine release, this was also a celebration of this incredible team and the Pedernales Cellars venture coming up on 10 years

This team expertly runs Pedernales Cellars a over 15.000 case winery, mid-sized, with many award winning wines with very high reputation. Having set a high standard already for Texas wine and recognizing that they have not reached their potential; this team brainstormed, designed and created Texas’ first Luxury Wine released “en primeur.

Fredrik Osterberg, with experience in European wine traditions, desired wines that could be cellared and aged to reach their full potential as liquid works of art. David Kuhlken, working with their geographically unique estate vineyards and now wonderfully mature vines producing amazing fruit, knew that they have the raw materials to create some of the greatest wines in the world. Julie Kuhlken, genius and inspiration for design created an fluid, elegant and breathtaking package with a look somewhat reminiscent of avant garde artist Gustave Klimp.

Tasting Notes

2014 Kuhlken-Osterberg: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Mourvedre, 22% Touriga Nacional, 11 % Tinta Cao & Tinta Amarela.
Aromas of violets with vibrant red cherry and hints of pepper, vanilla and cocoa with a tantalizing blackberry scent in the background. The mouthfeel is silky and ripe with the fruit of red cherries and black cherries, a decent oaky vanilla presence with the pepper and cocoa balancing out the elegant finish.

2013 Kuhlken-Osterberg: 30% Tinta Amarela, 30% Touriga Nacional, 15% Tempranillo, 25 % Syrah blend.

Distinct smoky aromas with the undertones of tar that support the fruit of black cherry with hints of cedar and pepper. The wines bursts with flavor on the palate with black cherry and cranberry fruit, pronounced vanilla, grippy tannins and a very long finish leaving a impression of a firm wine with resolve. This wine is miracle that it exist at all; most of the Texas High Plains was wiped out by freezes and most of the Texas Hill Country was pummeled with hail, however the Kuhlken Estate vineyards was spared and flourished!

2012 Kuhlken-Osterberg: 76% Tinta Amarela, 24 % Syrah blend.

With shy aromas there are hints of red cherry, and smoke. Like a great old world wine that has a closed nose; this wine explodes on the tastebuds! Bursts of red cherry followed by vanilla and oak with tannins in a rich textural experience that makes the finish long and luxurious.

I can say all three of the Kuhlken-Osterberg wines are masterpieces! This team is creating wine that transcends the glass and time of the experience, achieving new heights for themselves and the Texas wine industry. This new vantage point shines a bright light on Texas wine and the 2015 vintage.

— Steven Krueger,

Leave a Reply