Sandstone Cellars III 2006

A blend of 52% Mourvèdre, 21% Primitivo, 16% Grenache, 10% Touriga and 1% Tempranillo. Chris has previously written about this wine, and his note strikes me as both an accurate representation of the wine and a prescient expression of the excitement that I’m feeling as I work my way through Texas Hill Country. Of all the Sandstone Cellars wines I’ve so far tasted (and there have been a few), this presents perhaps the most distinctive flavour profile, a fact for which its most important constituents (Mourvèdre and Primitivo) must be responsible.

At first taste, this is more Zinfandel than anything else: it has a liqueurous spiciness I associate with the variety, as well as characteristic power and density. It throws such a wide range of aromas, though, so many of which are dustier, darker and more sinister, that Mourvèdre’s influence becomes more and more clear. Notes of camphor, aniseed, dark fruit and spice all intermingle, as well as a leathery note that is surely part bottle age. No shortage of complexity, then, in this highly distinctive aroma profile.

The palate is amazingly dense and impactful, yet never rises above being medium bodied. This both strikes me as very Texan and very new; indeed, I can’t think of too many wines I’ve tasted that house this particular set of muscular, dark flavours within such an elegant frame. The flavour, in fact, suggests port at times, perhaps due to the Touriga. Tannins are chunky and thick when they appear, which they do quite far back in the wine’s line.

This is elegant, delicious, distinctive and ageing gracefully. More than all that, though, it’s a milestone in the invention of Texas, Texas Hill Country and Mason County wine.

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

Sandstone Cellars
Price: $40
Closure: Cork
Source: Sample