Kyle, Texas

Photo: Driftwood Estate Winery

Viogniers and Syrahs. Trebbianos and Montepulcianos. You found unexpected wine grapes in a surprising wine region today. Texas Hill Country, in Central Texas, is home to rugged hills and more than 50 wineries. And it’s just outside of Austin.

You stopped at Duchman Winery, where you tried Italian varietals, made from 100 percent Texas grapes, in a building that looked like an Italian villa. You walked away with an Aglianico, a wine rarely seen in the United States. Then you sipped a stainless-steel Chardonnay and a sparkling Muscat, which tasted like a Prosecco, at a bluff overlooking the vineyards at Driftwood Estate Winery. The last thing you want to do is return to Austin right now.

It’s not because you don’t love Austin. You’ve traveled to the capital of Texas a handful of times. You love its music festivals, food trucks, and liberal vibe. But you’ve always stayed within the city limits. Though the second-largest viticultural area in the country is just outside of the city, you’ve never toured the vineyards or even tasted the wine. After finally making the trip, you’re not ready to leave.

Photo: Sage Hill Inn

Luckily, you don’t have to go back to Austin to eat and sleep comfortably tonight. Outside of Kyle, one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas, you’ll find Sage Hill Inn & Spa. The rustic boutique hotel sits on 90 acres above Onion Creek. Its wooden buildings are surrounded by stone fences, vegetable gardens, and wildflowers. There’s a long pool that’s shaded by large oak trees. A hot tub, seating 14 people, sits beside it. A gas fire pit, a bocce court, horseshoe stakes, and hammocks litter the grounds, as well.

As for the accommodations, there are cottages, suites, and rooms spread across the property. You quickly fall in love with the Hartson King Room for both its history and luxurious bathroom. The room was named after a great-grandmother who was elected the mayor of Kyle in 1937. She’d be surprised to find a freestanding whirlpool tub and a double shower in the bathroom. There’s a fireplace, throw pillows that match the bright artwork, and a sunset view from the porch. Freshly picked flowers and locally bottled water are also waiting for you. Plus you might see blackbucks or wild turkeys when you’re sitting outside.

At an inn like this, you’d expect breakfast to be included tomorrow morning. A full breakfast—plus a basket of muffins, a tray of seasonal fruit, homemade granola, and freshly squeezed orange juice—certainly is. But so is dinner tonight. The Restaurant at Sage Hill serves three-course, farm-to-table, party-style dinners each evening. As you get to know the other guests at your table, local wines are suggested. They pair perfectly with the lemon artichoke risotto and the chicken with Dijon cream that the chef is serving tonight. By the time the toasted almond torte arrives for dessert, everyone at the table feels like an old friend. So does Texas Hill Country at this point.

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