We come to the Texas Hill Country on a mission: four days of intensive searching for world-class wines and barbecue. Not exactly a National Geographic–level expedition, but significant in a food-and-wine kind of way. And, so that I do not keep you in unbearable suspense, we found some of both and enjoyed every moment of the hunt. The “we” is me, my brother Rob and our wives and bodyguards, Darlene and Francie. We are all best friends. Darlene and I live near New York City, and Rob and Francie live in Louisiana, where Rob and I grew up. For about 40 years we were separated by corporate life, but recently, Rob and I left our day jobs, and now we rendezvous a few times a year in interesting places to rediscover each other through the shamelessly hedonistic pursuit of perfect moments of eating and drinking.
The Hill Country is home to two dozen or so wineries, and our group decides for scientific reasons that a statistical sample of at least 10 of them is required to assess the state of the industry. That means visiting three our first afternoon. That may sound easy to those who have cruised Route 29 through Napa Valley, but Texas is a big-ass place, and the Hill Country’s wineries are spread over about 14,000 square miles west of Austin and north of San Antonio.
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