Sandstone Cellars X 2009

80% Syrah, 15% Touriga, 5% Nebbiolo.

Syrah, or Shiraz as I have labelled the ferment at Pontotoc Vineyard, features fairly regularly in Texas Hill Country wines. As a representative of the country that owns this grape, I’m naturally curious to see how it translates to an even hotter, dryer climate than we typically subject it to. This wine also contains a bit of Touriga Nacional and Nebbiolo, which is, at the very least, unexpected.

This wine is all about tannin; fine, rich tannin that blankets the tongue from mid-palate onwards. Syrah provides the dominant flavour components, which in this context means bright, red fruit, a bit of chocolate and a lot of floral notes. There’s also a gentle spiciness that lifts the flavour profile and adds layers of complexity.

This is a gentle wine to smell and taste, which is ironic given its abundance of firm, fine tannin. The whole is medium bodied at most, and at this stage it tastes entirely primary. More red fruits, spice, tea leaf and bitter chocolate. As with the aroma, this wine’s palate gives the impression of being built in layers, one placed softly over the next until a complete flavour profile is constructed. There’s a soft prettiness to this that I really admire.

While tasting, I wished for more strangeness from this wine, an odd note or something structural to mark this as more eccentric. Perhaps my reaction to it comes from a certain familiarity with its flavour profile, given my background with Shiraz-based wines. To be sure, this is very far from any Australian wine I can think of in terms of palate structure and character, but compared to some other Sandstone wines, its flavours are less challenging, and more immediately understandable.

Note: I am currently an intern with Don Pullum, the maker of this wine.

Sandstone Cellars
Price: $US35
Closure: Cork
Source: Sample

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