Pax Castelli-Knight Ranch Syrah 2004
Syrah/Shiraz from Russian River, California
We undoubtedly think that this is one of the most singular expressions of Syrah in our stable. Regardless of vintage, the vineyard driven character of this wine is unmistakable. Always on the large side, with the serious tannins of a marvelously ripe Cornas, the 2004 reminds us more of the 2002 than the 2003 version of this wine, with sweeter fruit and riper tannins. Enjoy it and the 2002 while we all patiently await the potentially majestic 2003 to settle down.
100 % Syrah
40 % new French Oak
16.55 % Alc by Vol
275 cases produced
Fresh cracked black pepper, iron and spicy blackberry pie. Humongous in the mouth, (this one goes to 11) with outrageously sweet fruit, mouthwatering acidity, teeth-staining tannin and that density of palate that you can only get from low yielding vines grown on a rocky hillside. More soil inflected flavors of iron and spice lead into a ripe tannic finish. So basically this is typical Castelli-Knight Ranch Syrah!
Pax Wine Cellars is focusing on the production of premium vineyard-designated Syrah based wines from the North Coast of California. We hope to eventually add a Grenache based wine, and a Northern Rhone inspired white wine. Quality is key and sourcing exceptional sources for these two wines is paramount.
Our Mission Statement is simply stated; “To produce reference point Syrah based wines that are indicative of where they are grown”.
We are not trying to replicate any other Syrah produced in the world; Hermitage can only be made from one place. Our intent is to create unique wines with strong personalities of where they are grown. We believe that the cooler climates along the northern coast of California have the potential to produce world-class Syrah, and that is our goal.
We utilize traditional winemaking techniques; it is a style of winemaking that is really without a style. The uniqueness of the growing sites for each of these vineyards should give the wine its personality; it is our job to encourage that personality to shine through. We feel the best way to accomplish this is by utilizing Indigenous fermentations, minimal handling, unobtrusive use of the finest French oak and bottling without filtering or fining.
This approach to winemaking is very pure and unadulterated; therefore the wines will typically vary in color, alcohol, pH and most other characteristics that determine any given winery's ‘style’. Each of our wines is the purest expression of that vineyards fruit that we are able to capture in the bottle. This is the reason that sourcing vineyards of exception or at least vineyards that have ‘something to say’ is the single most important thing that we can do to guarantee our success.
We spend, as much time in our vineyards as we can. It is simply the only way. We lease our parcels by the acre or row when necessary, and we encourage organic farming practices. Low yields are a rule and each vine is cared for individually.
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About Russian River
The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
The proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
It'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.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most 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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.