Saxum James Berry Vineyard Bone Rock 2011
Rhone Red Blends from Central Coast, California
The 2011 Bone Rock is a little lighter in color than past vintages, but still quite dark, and a little lower in alcohol, but still comparatively weighty. The aromatics are what I find magical on this set of wines, the cool temperatures kept them amazingly fresh and ethereal. Definitely on the spicy side as opposed to the fruit aspect that we normally see more of in a warmer year. In the cellar I tried to respect this character of the 2011 vintage. We used a little more whole cluster fermentation to soften the tannins and increase the spiciness and we cut down on the amount of new oak we would normally use to let the spice shine through even more. We also increased the amount of concrete aging vessels we use to really bring it all home with an exclamation point! I really like the wines from this vintage, and I think they will be fascinating wines to follow over the next 20 years!
The Wine Advocate - "Decidedly cool climate in character, the 2011 James Berry Vineyard Bone Rock comes from steep, terraced plots of old head trained Syrah vines that, in 2011, wasn’t harvested until November. Co-fermented with a splash of Roussanne and Mourvedre, it’s a spectacular effort that makes the most of the cool, long growing season. It’s also the most long term prospect in the lineup. Offering up a tight, Cornas-like bouquet of black and blue fruits, white pepper, spring flowers and salty minerality, it is full-bodied, beautifully concentrated and seamless on the palate, with ultra-fine tannin and building richness that only starts to develop with a healthy decant. It’s a gorgeous wine, yet needs to be forgotten for at least 4-5 years. It should drink nicely through 2031. 98+"
International Wine Cellar - "Inky purple. Heady, floral- and spice-accented scents of black and blue fruits, incense and licorice. Stains the palate with intense cassis and blueberry flavors that are lifted by vibrant spice and floral pastille nuances. Becomes sweeter and more energetic with air and finishes with superb clarity and length and smooth, fully absorbed tannins. This is on the short list of the best wines that I tasted from California this year."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "One of the highlights among these 2011s, the Bone Rock emerges from a block of head-trained, low yielding vines at the top of James Berry. Predominantly Syrah with a healthy dollop of co-fermented Roussanne, the Bone Rock is by far the most reticent of these 2011s. It is also the most intriguing. There is fabulous richness and density in the dark fruit, but all the elements need time to become fully expressive. Hints of jasmine and white flowers emerge on the finish, but only with great reluctance. In 2011, the fruit was harvested in two picks. The Syrah was fermented with 50% whole clusters.
Wine Spectator - "Classic notes of pepper and wild berry give this sturdy red plenty of backbone and tension. The tannins are more muscular and gripping than in recent vintages, giving the flavors traction and length. Drink now through 2026."
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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.