Pedernales Cellars, one of the youngest Texas wineries, scored a major coup recently at the Lyon International Wine Competition, walking away with a grand gold for its 2012 viognier. “There were over 3,000 entries,” said co-founder and president Fredrik Osterberg at the Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit at Perini Ranch Saturday.
“Out of approximately 200 grand golds, we were the only one from the U.S.,” said Osterberg. “It’s great for us, but it’s a recognition for the Texas wine industry as a whole.” Grand gold signifies not just a first-place finish, but unanimity among the judges. This, for a Stonewall winery barely eight years old.
I tasted it at the Tapas Crawl Saturday night – what a wonderful wine! With aromas of honeysuckle, lychee, orange blossom and pineapple-y citrus, it opens up into a bright, refreshing mouthful with just a hint of creaminess from highly restrained oak, and an undergirding minerality that I find characteristic of grapes grown on the High Plains. This Viognier taps the Reddy and Bingham vineyards, giving it a singular Texas profile.
“You can make world-class Viognier in Texas,” Osterberg says, noting that Becker Vineyards’ viognier
brought home a silver and Flat Creek Estate’s earned a bronze at the same Lyon contest.
These achievements underscore viognier’s role as the other great grape story in Texas, the white muscle to tempranillo’s red strength. (But winemakers and grape growers are uneasy about the 2013 crop, which sustained bud-killing frosts early in the season. We will know more in the coming weeks about its prospects.)
The Pedernales viognier also scored a silver medal in the Dallas Morning News TexSom Wine Competition, says Osterberg, and was deemed the best Texas wine at the Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. “We didn’t get the belt buckle,” he says. “We got the saddle.”