Wine Tastings for When You’re Short on Time

Afternoon wine flight

A selection of wines at C.L. Butaud's tasting room (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Wine-tasting excursions into the Hill Country are a tried-and-true pastime for Austinites and visitors alike, but you often need to clear a full day or three on your calendar in order to maximize your experience. What if you want to just treat yourself a little when playing hooky on a Friday afternoon, or to squeeze in a little splash of Texas wine culture before your visiting in-laws have to head to the airport? What if I told you that a sweet little afternoon staycation spent tasting fantastic Texas wines is just 30 miles away in Dripping Springs?

First, head out on Highway 290 straight to Dripping; just a tick or two past the intersection of 290 and Ranch Road 12 is Summer Revival Wine Co., a newly opened tasting room from Ian and Becky Atkins of Flat Brim Wines. The Atkinses opened their urban, low-intervention winery in Portland, Ore., in 2016, then expanded to Central Texas in 2020. The shop, opened in spring 2022, is a cute, homey space with a small retail market and a cozy, shabby-chic tasting room where you can sample natural wines that let the grapes do the talking. This means that included in your $15 flight of five wines, you'll sample the snappy, unusual 2020 One More Kiss Riesling from the Willamette Valley that tells the story of how smoke from the wildfires in California that year traveled up the coastline and settled into the grapes. A 2020 Not Cringey Primitivo Zinfandel lets you in on the flirtation between co-fermented grapes hand-picked by Ian himself at different points in their ripening process, with notes of red fruits and anise. Order a cheese service and sample house-made Fredericksburg peach jam with brûléed brie, rustic sourdough crackers from Abby Jane, and Talk O' Texas pickled okra from San Angelo. Add on the salami from the Salumeria down the road, and round out your snacking with a chocolate bar from Dripping Springs Chocolate Co., and you've got a local smorgasbord of reasonable prices and portions.

Once you've wrapped up at Summer Revival, head on over to the C.L. Butaud tasting room off Fitzhugh Road, right next door to the Jester King compound. Situated in the former home of Argus Cidery, the tasting room exudes sophisticated comfort with a touch of industrial chic. Order a $25 flight of veteran winemaker Randy Hester's offerings, enjoyed al fresco if the weather allows, and marvel at the master's work. The Blanc de Noir is crisp and flirty easy drinking, while Cease & Desist, a mostly Grenache blend, is dark and mature and will make your hand flutter modestly to your throat. Who knew such a smoldering, distinguished wine was lurking along Fitzhugh Road, waiting to sweep you off your feet?

The investment of time and money for a mini wine tour (or just one tasting) is minimal, and the proximity of Dripping Springs to Austin means you'll be home in time for dinner.

Summer Revival Wine Co.

665 Hwy. 290, Dripping Springs

C.L. Butaud

12345 Pauls Valley Road

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Drinks Issue 2022, Summer Revival Wine Co., C.L. Butaud, wine tasting, Texas wine, Randy Hester, Ian Atkins, Becky Atkins

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