63.5 miles, 21 wines, 17 people, 4 wineries, 1 limmer…

After months of planning, 17 happy souls hopped in an 18 passenger Limmer (Limo + Hummer = Limmer) and ventured into the Texas Hill Country to sample some of the finest wines around!

We started with a Spanish Cava sparkling wine toast paired with fresh raspberries as we waited for everyone to arrive.  The cava was Juvé y Camps, which is a Brut Nature Gran Reserva.  It is all natural with no added sugar and its dryness paired well with the raspberries.

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12:00 PM – Depart for Salt Lick Cellars (about 15 minutes)

We made the short trip to The Salt Lick’s wine tasting room and sampled a Spanish Rioja called Lar de Paula.  This is a “young” wine that has been aged six months in the barrel — which is not typical of most young Rioja wines which have no barrel aging.

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Salt Lick Cellars has some great wines of their own as well as a few others for tasting from around Texas.  We picnicked with some cajun roast beef and turkey with horseradish over sourdough crustinis and tasted the Salt Lick Sangiovese and GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre blend).  Both of these wines were really good!

 

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1:00 PM Depart for Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Company  (about 30 minutes)

We departed The Salt Lick and made our way towards Dripping springs while sampling tempranillo crianza from rioja.  Crianza is an aged wine that has at least 12 months in the barrel.  We paired this with jarlesburg and Spanish manchego.

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We made our way to The Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Company, which has some great locally made olive oils and deliciously flavored balsamic vinegars.

 

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My favorite was definitely the garlic infused olive oil and the wild cherry balsamic vinegar!

2:00 PM Depart for Bell Springs Winery (about 5 minutes)

This short 5-minute trip took us to the new winery we hadn’t previously visited  It has great reviews, and it’s near some other great wineries, so we were really hopeful it will be a new favorite!

The girl who helped us was very knowledgable about their wines, and while I personally only liked the chardonnay and the cabernet made with grapes from Chile.  All in all, we had a great time (and they had the game on, which made many in our group quite happy).

 

 

2:45 PM Depart for Solaro Estate Vineyards (about 15 minutes).

We made our way towards Solaro estate vineyards, which has some of the best wines in the Hill Country.  We continued munching on cheese and wine and jammed out to a CD by Ben Rogers who was playing at the Bell Springs winery.

We set up our picknic and enjoyed a Spanish toritlla de patata (like a quiche, but Spanish style) with jamon serrano (like proccuto), brie with chipotle raspberry chutney, several other tapas, cheeses, and desserts and were treated to a very informative wine tasting of the Solaro wines (special thanks to Barbara!)

We tasted their Miscela Bianco 2012 reserve, their 2011 cabernet savignon (which if you’re not a “cab person” like I’m not, you definitely may love this wine), and finally their 2012 tempranillo reserve (my personal favorite!).

 

 

Solaro has, hands down, some of the best wines in the Texas Hill Country!  They’ve won several awards year after year.  Their wines are not manipulated for flavor (no additives) and are all unfiltered.  I’m personally a member of their wine club, and I think several people in our group also signed up!

 

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4:00 PM Depart for Driftwood Estate Vineyards (about 20 minutes)

We reluctantly cleaned up our picnic and departed Dripping Springs and made our way back towards Driftwood with a nice bottle of Norton Reserva 2010 Malbec from Mendoza Argentina paired with dark chocolate.

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Driftwood Estate has a breathtaking view along with some kick-butt award winning wines.  We had a private tasting in their tasting room and enjoyed their Alamo Red, sangiovese, Longhorn Red, Muscat Canelli, and a California brut sparkling wine.

 

 

Unfortunately, there was no live music as we were hoping because a lucky couple was taking advantage of the majestic view for their wedding, so we made our way towards the limmer.

 

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5:15 PM Depart for home (about 20 minutes)

We jammed out to some awesome sing-a-long-able music, enjoyed the rest of our wine, and quickly made our way back to the house.

 

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We were quick to start the Texas game, and after a quick cooking demonstration of Bonnie’s famous paella (and a first attempt at a paleo version of it, recipe coming soon!) we enjoyed some good company, a GREAT game, and a great hookah, we parted ways… until next time…

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