• Lorelei Helmke

Kuhlman Cellars

- Elevating the Tasting Experience

Tasting Bites with Kuhlman Merlot


Named for the creek that winds through the property, Kuhlman Cellars offers a unique tasting experience. This isn’t a place to simply stop in and try some wine. No, this is a perch from which you will embark on a journey of gustatory pleasure. This perfectly positioned winery offers not just a sample of their superbly produced wines; they employ a phenomenal chef to prepares bites that take elevate the tasting experience.

Sommelier Jennifer Beckman was my guide through the Kuhlman Cellars Signature tasting. The wines, made by Bénédicte Rhyme, are mostly blends given names that celebrate the soils from which they came. All the wines I tried were sensational, so I will forgo the rating system for this article, consider them all highly recommended. I will tell you about the wines and the paired bites. This is an experience not to be missed.

-Reservations Highly Recommended-

2016 Calcaria (taken from the Latin root for lime stone)

A blend of trebbiáno, roussanne, viognier, and albariño – Sourced from Texas High Plains

Paired with plantain chips with parmesan cream, roasted corn and chili salt

Very aromatic, with layer upon layer of peach and apricot, there are elegant notes of Anjou pear and honeysuckle. The wine has a touch of acidity that prepares the mouth for food. Upon introduction of the tasting bite, the acids in the wine are tempered. Likewise, the fruit of the wine tempers the touch of heat from the chili. Calcaria is absolutely beautiful, with or without food.

2016 Hensell (describes the orange clay soil)

100% mourvédre rosé – Sourced from Texas High Plains

Paired with roasted chicken tinga, refried beans, queso fresco and cilantro on a tortilla chip

Rosés simply play nice. They are the quintessential mid-day wine, a lifestyle wine. Hensell shows a beautiful rich salmon hue. Essence of rose petals rise from the glass. Flavors of ripe strawberries and white stone dance on the palette. Lively acidities make the wine come alive. The pairing demonstrated how completely easy a rosé can be. Pair it with lunch or Super Bowl fare. Refreshing and beautiful – a rosé to linger with.

2014 Alluvé (from the word alluvial - soils from river sediment)

A blend of sangiovese, carignan, mourvédre, tempranillo, touriga, and merlot – Sourced from Texas

Paired with Kuhlman Cellars signature herbed almonds

A Tuesday night wine, Alluvé is made to be easily approachable. It shows deep ruby color and offers delightful aromas of bing cherries and red plums intertwined with clove and a touch of cigar spice. The softer tannins give the wine a beautiful mouthfeel and pleasing finish. The almonds brought on an intense herbaceous quality that gratifyingly melded with the wine’s fruit and spice.

2014 Barranca (Spanish for cliffs)

A blend of mourvédre, tempranillo, malbec, and sangiovesse – Sourced from Texas

Paired with butternut cream on a wheat cracker with hard salami and basil

A very food friendly blend that is well structured with multiple layers of aromas. Beginning with violets and dark ripe cherries, the bouquet goes deeper into baking spices, cigar box with a hint of tobacco leaf. This wine has a solid tannin structure with hints of chocolate flavors tempered by a bit of cream swirling about with interlacing minerals. When the bite is introduced, the fat from the salami mingle with the tannins to produce an silky feel, then the basil comes forward. This is a must try combination.

2014 Kankar (Hindi word meaning “so rocky that things can not grow”)

A blend of malbec, petite sirah, and sangiovese – sources from Sonoma

Paired with Barbacoa in a Big Red reduction with avocado oil, green onion and pork rinds

With an almost black appearance it is big and rich. This full-bodied wine has brambly notes of blackberries, dusty thorns included, and toasted oak. Kankar is an intense wine with loads of tannin on the finish. It is made to go with meaty, fatty foods. The introduction of barbacoa transforms the tannin structure into a luxurious texture and the Big red reduction is amazing.

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