The initial impression of strawberry jam is cut with tarragon and muted notes of freshly turned earth. With aeration whispers of cinnamon and clove grow louder.
The palate is soft, the modestly concentrated cherry, cedar, and earth notes providing a linear experience until the acidity adds a juicy and high-toned mineral element. Fine-grained tannins drop off quickly on what seems like a short finish.
So the first impression is of a small, elegant wine, hushed and a bit shy, lacking depth but with no rough edges. But a second more careful look reveals a wine with an interesting character.
The wine is like a lazy, mid-afternoon boat ride down a quiet river, languorous, slow-moving, tranquil. Even the aromas are parceled out at a leisurely pace, the transitions between opening, mid-palate and finish rendered seamlessly, bound by a delicate filament of minerality that permeates the journey. It is the very opposite of bombast. And as the tannins fade the finish hangs on by a thread for a long minute until a lovely burst of menthol lights up the finale.
To get the full enjoyment from this wine you have to intuit it’s pace, match its slow pace with relaxed attention and wait for that final burst of joy. Too shy to attract attention you have to seek out its considerable charm.
This blend of Sangiovese (30%) Carignan (20%), Mourvedre (21%), Tempranillo (16%), Touriga (7%) and Merlot (4%) is another Texas wine that plays against the stereotype of big and brash. It is nevertheless unforgettable.
The 2014 sees 80% new French oak. The blend changes from vintage to vintage but winemaker Bénédicte Rhyne’s old world sensibility is the common thread.
Pair with the spare and languid Gnossiene #4 by Erik Satie.
Price: $28 (Purchase here)