Surrounded by the Hill Country’s rugged beauty and filled with a growing number of wineries and food destinations, the area around Driftwood has earned the nickname “the Napa of Texas.”
And no one knows its back roads and good food better than Scott Roberts, owner of the legendary Salt Lick BBQ (saltlickbbq.com or 512/858-4959), a brisket mecca that ships meat around the globe. Scott’s grandparents bought the land where the Salt Lick sits in 1902, and he shares that history, along with recipes, in his new book, The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family, and Love (available this month from The University of Texas Press; $40). “We give away our secrets for everything but the barbecue sauce,” Scott says. “As we say in Texas, ‘If we told you that, then we’d have to kill you.’ ”
While Scott has spent most of his career with barbecue, he’s juggling several new projects. At Salt Lick Cellars (saltlickcellars.com or 512/894-3117), he’s growing grapes such as Tempranillo and a BBQ White. Scott is clearly a busy guy, but he’s always happy to hop in his pickup to show off his favorite Driftwood wine-and-dine spots to visitors.
Just down the road from Scott’s cellars, Dave Reilly makes some of the best white wines in Texas (try the Vermentino or Trebbiano) at the Duchman Family Winery (duchmanwinery.com or 512/858-1470). Sip Dave’s finest in Duchman’s tasting room—$10 buys a flight of six tastes—and then explore the winery’s barrel room and tank fermentation area.
Next door to Duchman Family Winery, Damian Mandola’s Trattoria Lisina (trattorialisina.com or 512/894-3111) serves house-cured meats and specials such as Risotto del Giorno with crab, shrimp, redfish, tomatoes, and herbs ($22).
About 4 miles west of downtown, Driftwood Estate Winery (driftwoodvineyards.com or 512/858-9667) is known for its Longhorn Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah ($20). With a massive deck perched high on a stone bluff, it also offers one of the prettiest picnic spots around. For dinner, you may want to pick up a rack of ribs from Salt Lick before drifting on over to the winery.