Driftwood, Texas, population 21, sits in some pretty Texas Hill Country not too far from Austin. Good country for letting go of daily cares like so many leaves in the wind.
And it's easier to do that when you know you're going to visit The Salt Lick Restaurant, a national-treasure BBQ palace. And two unique wineries, the Driftwood Estate Winery and Duchman Family Winery.
If you missed my takes on the Salt Lick and Driftwood Estate Winery, you'll do yourself a favor by clicking the links above for a long-distance taste.
Duchman Family Winery was conceived as a bit of Italy in Texas. Italian architecture and landscape, Italian wine sensibility.
Duchman specializes in Italian grape varieties, producing 10,000 cases a year, primarily from grapes grown in Texas. Customers can buy at the winery, join a wine club (Texas shipments only) or check it out online and call the winery.
An unrelated but attractive Italian restaurant shares the property. We'd had too much Salt Lick to think about food...maybe the next visit...
But we couldn't pass up the winery. The wine-making area is glassed in so patrons can see what's going on. And they offer a free "grape to glass" tour on weekends, every hour from 12:00pm to 7:00pm.
After that we had to do a tasting, right? $9 for 10 wines, how could we not?
I'm sharing my tasting notes of the ones I liked best, two white and two red.
2008 Vermentino - $18.00 - Loved the floral, pear and peppermint nose. Nice crisp acidity with light, floral flavors. Good fruit/acid balance. Nice finish.
2008 Moscato - $18.00 - Floral, pear nose. Off-dry with a grapefruity tang. Refreshing.
2008 Sangiovese - $24.00 - Cherry-berry nose with a hot note and a dusty undertone. Cherry flavor forward with a deep leather note on the long finish. I liked it and gave it two plus-signs in the margin. As a sidenote, 10% of the grapes in this one came from fruit grown by the Salt Lick Restaurant owners.
2008 SPINO-Montepulciano - $24.00 - My favorite of the tasting. Peppery, cherry nose. Fresh fruit. The server advised aerating or decanting. My notes say, 'restrained flavor but balanced'. I liked what I tasted without decanting, expect it would only get better. Light tannins, a good food wine, particularly with beef, I thought. Long finish. It was made with 100% estate-grown grapes.
The four tasters in our party had differing opinions as to best and least-favored. Which is often true. And would be true if you'd been there too.
Hope we can compare notes sometime.
Words and photos by Kathleen Scott,for her blog Hill Country Mysteries. Copyright 2009-2013.