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Flat front label of wine

Pax Walker Vine Hill Syrah 2004

Syrah/Shiraz from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • RP95
0% ABV
  • RP93
  • WS91
  • RP94
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A stunning effort, the black/purple-tinged 2004 Syrah Walker Vine Hill boasts tremendous intensity along with notes of creosote, blackberry liqueur, cassis, and flowers offered in a structured, dense, chewy style.
Range: 93-95
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Pax
Pax, Russian River, 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.

Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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.

DOB134736_2004 Item# 134736