Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sacred Stone Master Red Blend Cask 4

While recently at the Wine Connextion, I was chatting with the owner, Sam, and he recommended the Sacred Stone Master Red Blend Cask 4. It had been the favorite of his employees at a recent tasting, and at only $7.39, it was very inexpensive. Sam gave me a bottle to try and I recently tasted it at home with some roast beef sandwiches.

The Pietra Santa Winery is a family-run winery in California’s Cienega Valley in the Central Coast. The vineyard extends back to the 1850s, when it was planted by Theophile Vache, a Frenchman, who selected the area because of the maritime climate and unique granite and limestone soils. "Pietra Santa" is Italian for "Sacred Stone," honoring those soils. In 2005, the property was purchased by the Blackburns, a family dedicated to preserving and building upon the winemaking history. Their wine maker is Alessio Carli, Italian-born and trained, and who has worked at the winery since 1991.

The Sacred Stone Master Red Blend Cask 4 ($7.39) is an eclectic blend of 42% Merlot, 17% Zinfandel, 14% Sangiovese, 13% Dolcetto, 5% Pinot Noir, 2.5% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3.5% Colorino. Colorino is a new grape to me, an Italian varietal that is most often added to wines as a cloring agent. The wine sees some aging in French and American Oak, and has an alcohol content of 14.6%.

Is a blend of eight grapes a marketing ploy, or just plain silly? Well, the label does not mention how many grapes are in the wine, or even which grapes are used. You can find the information on their website, but the average consumer won't look there. So it does not appear to be an obvious marketing point. I then thought back to some of my favorite blends, Sean Thackrey Pleaides and Caymus Conundrum, both which have probably as many different grapes. Yet I love those wines very much. So an eight grape blend has potential.

The wine has a rich, dark red color with a pleasing nose of black fruits, spice and hints of smoke. It is a big and bold wine, with plenty of juicy fruit flavors including plum, black cherry and blackberry. The flavors also include plenty of spice and a touch of earthiness. Nice acidity, moderate tannins, and a fairly long finish. It was more complex than I expected for a wine at this price point, and just a very pleasing drink. This wine would probably be best paired with food, from pizza to pasta, burgers to ribs.

An excellent value at this price, it should please most people with its California style blended with an Italian influence.


The Wine Whore said...

Exactly! I am a fan of the ol' Conundrum too! The multitude of grapes gets a bit crazy but it's still just fun and a tad bit confusing. :)

Would you say that the combo of grapes actually made this wine taste more complex or was it more the qualities of the fruit that caused the complexity?


Richard Auffrey said...

I would say it is a combination of both. The specific blend of grapes, types and proportion, would contribute, but then the quality of the grapes would make a difference as well.

The Wine Whore said...

Cool! That not only makes sense but I was hoping you would say that... sounds like something I would enjoy.

Think I could find this one anywhere else?

Richard Auffrey said...

I suspect you can. You'll just have to ask around your local wine stores, or go to the wine website and see if they mention their distributors.