2020 Sandlands Vineyards, Red Table Wine, Lodi, California.
The dark colored and brightly fresh Lodi Red Table Wine from winemaker Tegan Passalacqua of Sandlands is all from seriously old vines and made from an all California cuvée of Carignane, Cinsault and Zinfandel, all picked ripe, but with low sugars to make for an old world country style wine, reminding me of a tasty Corbieres! This purple an d ruby hued Lodi red, coming in at just 12.6% natural alcohol, is lovely with food with vibrant red raspberry, plum, strawberry and tart red currant fruits on the medium bodied palate along with orange tea, dried sage, lavender, anise and a touch of beet root, with almost no sense of oak. It feels juicy and pure with supple tannins, I would guess some whole berry and native yeast fermentation, allowing for the smooth texture and divine quaffability, thinking it saw just well seasoned neutral wood. Sandlands does each of these varieties in solo efforts, all of which are absolutely must try new California gems, with all being excitingly distinct wines, I always gravitate to Passalacqua’s Carignane bottlings, sourced from Lodi, as in this one and his Contra Costa version. This blend unfolds in the glass and gains complexity with a subtle earthiness, with savory elements and spiciness that is welcome and rewarding, making this Lodi Red Table Wine fun and compelling stuff. There’s a lot to love in the latest set of releases from the Sandlands lineup, including an all new Santa Barbara Syrah and a Napa Valley white blend of Chenin Blanc and Semillon, which I will review soon.

The Sandlands Lodi Red Table Wine, which was just 12 barrels and two 500 liter puncheons in this vintage. Tegan says this wine, rather than a field blend, is an intentional blend of three varieties and three vineyards in three equal parts. He adds that his Lodi Red Table Wine is composed of Cinsault from the Bechthold Vineyard (1886), Carignane from Spenker Ranch (1900) and Zinfandel from Kirschenmann Vineyard (1915), from the Passalacqua home ranch in Victor. This 2020, which opens nicely, went fabulously with a rustic Paella and will be a sublime companion to your favorite winter dishes and or a cassoulet, the classic dish of the Languedoc, as well as a go to pizza wine. Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua’s Sandlands Vineyards is a side project, for when Tegan is busy managing all of the vineyard sites and overseeing the winemaking for Turley Wine Cellars, one of California’s super star wineries. Tegan, here under his own label, says he focuses on forgotten classic California varieties, primarily grown in decomposed granite (sand), from regions and vineyards that have been farmed for many generations but have remained the outliers of California viticulture. He works with historic and organic vineyards, most well over a 100 years old and makes a great effort to allow these unique terroirs to shine through with gentle, hand off, and transparent winemaking, all with stellar results, as shown here in this tasty little wine. I very much suggest getting on the mailing list here and exploring the Sandlands collection of quality and value packed wines, which includes everything from Chenin Blanc to Mataro and Zinfandel to the Mission grape.
($32 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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