Wine Savvy on April 3, 2013 0 Comments Most people, Texans included, might be surprised to discover the roots of wine making in Texas are much deeper and predate even the thought of BBQ. European settlers in Central Texas began smoking leftover meats out of necessity for preservation in the mid-19th century. This practice quickly evolved into a culinary style synonymous with Texas and its appreciation for fine cut meats. While BBQ was evolving in Texas, the wine making industry was on a slow recovery from the Prohibition Era, which had nearly eliminated wine production in a region making wine since the mid- 1600’s. Located just west of Austin, the Salt Lick has been curating delicious BBQ for 50+ years and has just recently begun delving into the art of wine making. The estate grows several different Mediterranean varietals of grape on approximately 40 acres, producing many types of wine, including: Tempranillo, Syrah, Mouverdre, Sangiovese, and Grenache. On their current tasting menu they feature eight wines that were produced using their grapes with the help of local wineries, who assist with bottling and labeling. During my most recent visit I tasted their two newest wines, which are also featured as their house wines, the BBQ Red and BBQ White. While I am not a huge fan of white wines, it makes a great pairing with their smoked chicken and turkey. The acidity was just enough to balance the natural sweetness of the wine, giving it a crisp smooth finish. GSM – A Salt Lick Cellars Blend Because I love the grapes in this region and especially appreciate the quality of grapes grown on the Salt Lick vines, I choose their GSM, which is a blend of 100% estate grown varietals. Its firm tannins and oak flavors make it the perfect pairing for a surplus of brisket and pork ribs. If you’re looking for a red wine pairing that is a little less oaky, I’d recommend the BBQ red – while it’s a little too acidic for my tastes; it is a perfectly balanced wine for enjoying with BBQ. If you haven’t punished your body too much with the meat and sides, definitely enjoy their peach cobbler. If you are looking to sample some of the finest grapes produced by the regions most talented vintners, Salt Lick Cellars is the perfect place. They provide a lineup of estate wines and a refined selection of Texas varietals.