Sandlands is one of my favourite boutique projects in California. Started by Turley Winemaker Tegan Passalacqua as a passion-project to showcase and support California’s heritage vineyards (mostly those planted on decomposed granite – ie sand), the project focuses mostly on lesser appreciated varieties planted in the state, such as Carignan, Mataro, Chenin Blanc, and Trousseau. Just this year Passalacqua added a Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah to the lineup. The wines are super and the prices extremely reasonable. These are hard to find, with a wait for the mailing list and tiny distribution. Even SF’s top restaurants only secure a handful of bottles each.
Mataro (or Mourvedre) rarely sings outside of Bandol and Spain. There some interesting examples from Australia, but they are often massively powerful. The more expressive side of Mataro is often lost. Sandlands does a great job with the grape, however, taming its wild nature, making a clean bret-free wine, and focusing on the grape’s interesting aromatics.
Sandlands makes two Mataros – this one and one from Contra Costa County. The Mataro vines for this bottling were planted in 1923 on granite and limestone soils in the Enz vineyard situated in San Benito County, which is east of Salinas and south of San Jose. The vines are head-trained, basket pruned, dry-framed, and own-rooted.
Plum and dark fruit, leather, silky, fresh and aromatic. Structured but accessible. 14.1% ABV.
$35 USD from the mailing list