Saxum James Berry Vineyard 2008
Rhone Red Blends from Central Coast, California
#52 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011
The James Berry Vineyard, the Smith family's estate vineyard, is located only 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean with an average elevation of 1200 feet. A series of slopes with shallow clay loam topsoil over an ancient seabed, complete with fossilized shells and sharks teeth. The cuvee is now always a red fruit driven Grenache based blend, with a large portion of Mourvedre for texture, and Syrah as spicy support. Aged for 18-20 months in a variety of vessels, with the Grenache portion aging in concrete tank and larger puncheons, and the Mourvedre and Syrah aging in the smaller French barrels with a higher percentage of them new. The wine is always rich and layered, with raspberries and blackberries leading the way along with Provencial herbs and smooth dense tannins. Like all our wines, they are never racked off their lees and are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 James Berry Vineyard (52% Grenache, 31% Mourvedre, and 17% Syrah) saw some of its Grenache aged in the concrete eggs that are now catching on among some of the top producers on California’s Central Coast. With strong minerality from the limestone soil, this exuberant, fleshy, full-bodied wine is already drinking well. (I believe it was actually bottled just a day or two before my visit, which makes its performance that much more remarkable.) Dense purple, with sweet notes of barbecue smoke and meats as well as roasted herbs, extravagant black cherry, black currant, and blackberry fruit are all present in this wine, but there is plenty of underlying structure that comes from both the minerality and the Mourvedre component. Pure, full-bodied, but again, impressively elegant and nuanced, this is a tour de force and another prodigious example of this extraordinary vineyard site. "
Wine Spectator - "Riveting aromas of fresh raspberry, mineral, wilted rose and wild berry turn firm and spicy, full-bodied and concentrated on the finish, yet the flavors dance with acidity. The purity of the crushed rock and snappy berry flavors is rivaled by the elegance and finesse evident in the texture, balance and length. Ends with a subtle touch of toasty oak and black licorice. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Drink now through 2024. 580 cases made"
International Wine Cellar - "Glass-staining ruby. A drop-dead bouquet displays red and dark berry preserves, potpourri, incense and smoky minerals. Sweet, sappy and penetrating, with open-knit raspberry and blackberry flavors complemented by notes of candied rose and violet. The palate-staining finish is broad, spicy and extremely persistent. This wine is approachable now but really deserves a good five more years of age.Rating: 95+"
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Saxum Vineyards is focused on producing Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre based blends from the Templeton Gap of Paso Robles, California. We let our rocky calcareous soils, steep hillsides, and cooling ocean breezes speak through our wines by keeping our yields extremely low, picking fruit at the peak of ripeness, and using a minimalist approach in the cellar. Production is kept at a total of 2200-2800 cases per year divided between 6 different cuvees, Broken Stones, Heart Stone Vineyard, James Berry Vineyard, Booker Vineyards, Rocket Block and Bone Rock. View all Saxum Wines
About Central CoastView a map of Central Coast wineries
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Notable FactsGrape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.