To say there is always something to be learned about wine is an understatement. There are always new grape varieties and wine regions to be discovered. And even in familiar wine regions there are always winemakers making something different that demands to be tasted.
We recently made two interesting wine discoveries — Kuhlman Cellars and Texas Hill Country AVA north of San Antonio. We received a collection of wines from Kuhlman Cellars as tasting samples to guide our discovery.
Texas Hill Country AVA at a Glance
- Texas Hill Country AVA lies west of Austin and north of San Antonio. It covers more than 9 million acres (by comparison California’s Central Coast AVA is a bit over 6.7 million acres.)
- 758 acres are under vine (as of 2017) with 76% red grapes and 24% white. The ratio of red to white grapes in Texas as a whole is very close to that of Texas Hill Country.
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Black Spanish, Merlot and Syrah are the top five red varieties.
- Viognier, Blanc du Bois, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Roussanne are the top white varieties.
- Soil types include sandy loam, granite and limestone with interesting geological formations including the Llano Uplift and Enchanted Rock.
- According to Texas Hill Country Wineries more than 50 wineries dot the region, which receives more than 5 million visitors annually.
Kuhlman Cellars is the realization of Chris and Jennifer Cobb’s passion for wine. That enthusiasm was confirmed during their honeymoon in Napa Valley years ago. It has been a process, but in 2014 they established Kuhlman Cellars along with winemaker Bénédicte Rhyne.
Wine has been a part of Bénédicte’s life since growing up in France. She received her formal wine education in Dijon before hands-on learning at Château Pétrus in Bordeaux, Matua Valley in New Zealand and Ravenswood in Sonoma. She eventually landed in Fredericksburg, TX where she consults as a winemaker.
Bénédicte says she was moved to join the Cobbs in their wine venture because she recognized the same dedication to quality vineyards, quality wines and above all the passion for wine that she shares. In Bénédicte’s words, “A life without wine is not a complete life.”
The estate vineyards are planted in five blocks over sloping terrain. Carignan is the largest planting (2.3 acres), followed by Mourvedre, Aglianico, Marsanne and Roussanne. Soils vary with clay over limestone and varying depths of clay. The Kuhlman Cellars name comes from Kuhlman Creek, which originates on the family farm.
Kuhlman Cellars offers a number of wine tasting options including wine flights, seated tastings with food pairings and reserve tasting and tour. Kuhlman Cellars is located only 20 minutes from Fredericksburg, which offers a delightful combination of historic storefronts, museums, dining and lodging experiences.
A Taste of Kuhlman Cellars
2018 Kuhlman Cellars Kuhlmanation Estate White — pale yellow in the glass with generous aromas and flavors of ripe pears, stone fruit, pineapple and citrus. 13.8% abv. SRP $28
Marsanne and Roussanne harvested from the Kuhlman estate vineyards were vinified in stainless steel to make a bright aromatic white wine perfect for summer sipping or pairing with creamy pasta dishes, chicken or spicy Asian dishes.
2018 Kuhlman Cellars Hensell, Texas High Plains — pale raspberry color in the glass with strawberry and citrus aromas. Flavors of strawberry, raspberry and watermelon are lifted by a grating of citrus for a clean, bright finish. 13.5% abv. SRP $26
The Hensell is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault from the Texas High Plains and Carignan from the Kuhlman Cellars estate vineyard. A 20-hour cold-soak maceration was followed by a cool fermentation in stainless steel.
Flavors are generous, fruit forward and fresh. Though this rosé is perfect for fair-weather grilling, don’t overlook its appeal in cool months. It is fresh and balanced and will pair with a wide variety of food.
2016 Kuhlman Cellars Alluvé, Texas — translucent ruby in the glass with generous aromas of plums and blackberries. Red fruit flavors lead with pomegranates along with ripe raspberries and blackberries. Earthy notes add interest along with crushed flower stems in the background. Tannins are drying and well integrated. The body is on the light side of medium. 13.1% abv. SRP $29
This relatively light-bodied red is a blend of 28% Malbec, 24% Mourvedre, 21% Carignan, 12% Tempranillo, 10% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah. It was aged in French oak for 16 months.
The translucent ruby color of this wine is enchanting. I’ve seen California Pinot Noir (blended with other varieties) that is darker than this wine. I find the flavor profile, lighter body and relatively low alcohol very attractive in this wine. Consider chilling this wine slightly in warm months.
This delightful wine came with a beautiful surprise — wine diamonds. I pulled that cork and to my surprise the cork was lined with shimmering burgundy-colored crystals. I love discovering wine diamonds on the cork or in the bottom of a wine bottle. I consider it an indication of a wine made with care and not manipulated to within an inch of its life.
Kuhlman Cellars is making it convenient for you to enjoy a taste of their wines as well. With the code “pullthatcork” you will receive $0.01 shipping on three or more bottles of Kuhlman Cellars wine through the Christmas season. Happy Holidays to you!
Thanks to Kuhlman Cellars for sharing a taste of Texas Hill Country with us.