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Flat front label of wine

Pax Griffin's Lair Syrah 2004

Syrah/Shiraz from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
  • RP97
0% ABV
  • RP94
  • RP95
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of my favorite Pax offerings, the deep purple-colored 2004 Syrah Griffin’s Lair is much lower in alcohol in 2004 (14.8%) than in previous vintages. Lovely aromas of blackberries, cassis, new saddle leather, roasted meats, and smoky barbecue are followed by a full-bodied wine with fabulous intensity, definition, and length. It requires 2-3 years of bottle age, and should last for two decades, making it one of the longest lived Pax Syrahs to date.
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Pax
Pax, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
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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.

Sonoma Coast

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A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs all the way from the Mendocino County border, south to the San Pablo Bay. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the actual coastal vineyards, marked by marine soils, cool temperatures and saline ocean breezes—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, which are still heavily influenced by the Pacific but not quite with same intensity.

Contained within the appellation are the much smaller Fort Ross-Seaview and Petaluma Gap AVAs.

The Sonoma Coast is highly regarded for elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and, increasingly, cool-climate Syrah. The wines have high acidity, moderate alcohol, firm tannin, and balanced ripeness.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

DOB134730_2004 Item# 134730