I like to think of Salt Lick Cellars as an art gallery of sorts. Jay Knepp, the Salt Lick vineyard manager, grows near 40 acres of grapes on the property in Driftwood, then sends those grapes to different winemakers around the region to craft into wine. So if you don’t have time travel around to several different wineries in a day, you can make one stop here and explore the styles of a variety of winemakers, all creating art from the same grapes.
1) Salt Lick Cellars Mourvèdre by Bill Blackman and Chris Brundrett of William Chris Vineyards and Winery. It carries the signature flavors of William Chris’ coal toasted South Armenian Oak. The wine is rich with prominent oak flavors of cooking spices and vanilla, the fruit rounded by its time in the barrels.
2) Salt Lick Cellars GSM by Dave Reilly at Duchman Family Winery. A grenache, syrah, mourvèdre blend aged in neutral and French oak barrels. True to Reilly’s style, the fruit expresses itself in bright flavors with a clean and lingering finish.
3) Hill Country Blend by Dave Reilly at Duchman Family Winery. A blend of grapes from different vintages: sangiovese from 2010, syrah from 2009 and cabernet sauvignon from 2010. All the fruit is from Salt Lick vineyards, except for the cabernet sauvignon from Limestone Terrace, Reilly’s first vineyard (now otherwise owned/managed) in Wimberley. Aged in American and neutral oak, it has pleasant hints of vanilla. The finish is tight with good acidity that is sure to cut through your BBQ lunch, er, dinner.
4) Salt Lick Sangiovese by Dave Reilly at Duchman Family Winery, the newest addition to the tasting room selection. The fruit is from 7 year vines at Salt Lick and was picked in the middle of a 6 1/2 inch rainstorm, then aged in neutral French barrels. The rain apparently didn’t affect the grapes and the wine is still all the things I love in a sangiovese: beautiful color, bright, red fruit, again, great acidity.
5) Fall Creek Tempranillo by Ed Auler at Fall Creek Vineyards. 100% Salt Lick fruit bottled under the Fall Creek label. Aged in American, French and neutral French barrels, this wine is a full-bodied gem. The fruit is prominent with creamy vanilla notes and the complex sweet/sour play that comes from good American oak. The finish is long and lingering, even after a few sips of water. Stellar meat pairing wine.
Tonight should offer an amazing experience to all TWGGA participants.