There was a time, in the not so distant past, when you had to bring a stocked cooler to indulge in an adult beverage while indulging on BBQ at The Salt Lick. Not anymore. If you haven’t been to Driftwood recently, you may not be aware that they have entered the wine world.
In 2006, Scott Roberts planted the first vines and bottled the first wines in 2008. After an in-depth study of climatic challenges, Winemaker Jay Knepp and Roberts chose the thick-skinned grapes that can handle the Texas heat and calciferous soil. They planted Mediterranean varietals: Tempranillo, Syrah, Granache, and Mourvedre. The grapes are hand-picked and they use Old World wine-making techniques. Today, Salt Lick Cellars works with other growers and bottlers in Texas to provide a larger variety of wines for their guests.
They offer five blends, four single varietals, and a Sparkling. The BBQ White is a Vermentino. Light, crisp and easy sipping. The Ranch Road White is a blend of Muscat Canelli, Chenin Blanc, Semillion, and Viognier. Crisp citrus, soft peach or melon, and some sweet floral notes. I enjoyed the blend very much. Either would be a perfect foil to the Texas heat. The BBQ Red is Primitivo, the Italian equivalent of Zinfandel. Tart red fruit with medium body, it is a great match for the peppery spice in the BBQ.
The Mourvedre is 100% Estate grown. A beautiful claret red. I got a lot of Bing cherry, some earth, but still a lighter wine. My favorite was the Tempranillo. It had a fresh herbal nose. Big smooth fruit and a long finish. I picked up some nutmeg or some other spiciness. Unfiltered and aged in both American and French oak, this one was super tasty. I took one home with me. I found both of these varietals to be lighter than some I have had, but no less delicious. The brightness of the fruit was not overpowered by the tannins. I am curious to see how both of these wines develop as the vines age.
Since my family was waiting for me, I had to keep it brief. There were several wines that I did not have time to taste, and couldn’t really give the samples the time they deserved. I plan to remedy that in the near future. In addition to their own wines, the tasting room carries other Texas wines, beers, chocolates, nuts, cheeses, and gifts. I made the mistake of eating first, so my palate had already been through the ringer before I tasted the wines. Not recommended. Taste first and pick up a bottle to go with your BBQ. Or a few bottles to take home. As if the brisket alone wasn’t enough reason to head to Driftwood, the Roberts Family has just given you several more reasons. Cheers, y’all.