This past weekend, I started 2012 off right. By “right,” I mean with two fabulous women at a winery on a warm winter day. We ventured out to Driftwood Winery to get some quality time and take a moment to sit back and catch our collective breath after the chaos of the holidays.
If you have not had the privilege of spending a day out at the winery, I highly recommend it. It is seated atop a hill country bluff, overlooking the vineyard, surrounded by live oaks. If you time it right, the lighting at sunset is spectacular. The winter here in the hill country is a bit of a misnomer most of the time. It is not uncommon to have a dry, breezy 65 degree day. Days like this are the reason we suffer through the summer. They beg for a picnic basket, friends, and a bottle of wine.
We have several up and coming wineries in central Texas, but one of my favorites is Driftwood Winery. Unpretentious attitude, several tasty varietals, and there is no shortage of chairs, tables, and open grass upon which to lay a blanket. I learned after the first visit to come prepared with cheese, crackers, and various sundries to nosh upon while swirling a glass of their finest. Seriously, you won’t want to leave until the sun fades behind the hills, ushering in a good breeze across the valley.
Now, let’s talk wine. It is, after all, why we head out there. For $5.00, you can choose any 5 wines to taste. This past weekend, there were thirteen to choose from:3 dry whites, 5 dry reds, 2 dry red reserves, 2 wines from a Paso Robles sister vineyard, and 5 sweet wines. My sister and I chose 5 different ones so we could tasty more. Aren’t we tricky? Fortunately for us (not for her), our friend was doing a fast and abstaining (WHAT??) so we had a chauffeur.
My perennial favorites remained the winners in my book. They make a fantastic Viognier. This visit they were pouring a 2010 ($18.00) which we both liked enough to share a bottle. Round, apricot/peach with a touch of brightness. It is my favorite white varietal anyway, and I really like their’s. My other favorite used to be called Super Texan, but another local vineyard bought the rights to that name, so now they have to call it, simply, Sangiovese ($18.00). It is 76% of its namesake, 8% each of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah- a Hill Country cousin to an Italian Super Tuscan. The B&E Red Rhythm (35.00) was also really nice. It is a Merlot, Cab, Syrah blend that won Double Gold Best of Class Judges Choice in San Fransisco. My sister brought home a bottle of that for her husband. He’s a good guy. She’s a great gal.
Many people are surprised that we grow wine in Texas. We do. And some of it is pretty darn good. In fact, we Texans (can I call myself that now after 16 yrs?) had a big hand in saving the French wine industry. Oui, oui. So if you live here in the Hill Country, and you haven’t been out to Driftwood, grab someone (and some cheese) you love and head out for a wonderful afternoon. If you aren’t lucky enough to call the Hill Country home, come visit. Just not in August. I’ll happily take you out for the day. The tour is gratis, although I do accept tips in the form of vino. Cheers, y’all.