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Saxum James Berry Vineyard (torn label) 2006

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • RP95
  • WS92
  • WE92
16.6% ABV
  • RP97
  • WS95
  • RP98
  • WS97
  • RP97
  • V96
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16.6% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2006 James Berry has changed somewhat from the 2005 vintage. We like the Grenache element in it so much, we decided to keep all the Rocket Block Grenache part in the James Berry blend. Sorry Rocket Block fans, but we really want the James Berry to be the best wine we can make using fruit from all of our varied parcels at James Berry Vineyard.

Blend: 45% Syrah, 38% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
An unfined/unfiltered blend of 45% Syrah, 38% Grenache, and 17% Mourvedre, aged 32 months in a combination of wood vessels, the prodigious 2006 James Berry Vineyard Proprietary Red exhibits beautiful sweet creme de cassis, black raspberry, blackberry, truffle, smoke, and herb notes. This spicy, rich, full-bodied effort should drink beautifully for a decade.

One of California's super-star producers, Saxum owns one of the state’s most remarkable vineyard sites, the James Berry Vineyard, which has been broken into a number of different blocks, all planted on rocky limestone hillsides. This estate’s approach to winemaking is decidedly artisinal, with extraordinarily small yields as well as a minimalistic winemaking philosophy. Proprietors Justin and Heather Smith, who seem much too young to be producing such prodigious wines, fashion separate blends from the different blocks of the James Berry Vineyard. They also produce a cuvee from the 7-acre Heart Stone Vineyard (also planted on limestone soils) and one from the Booker Vineyard. Saxum’s 2006s are all home runs, but the utterly prodigious 2007s should resonate for decades, and showcase the brilliant potential of these limestone hillside sites west of Highway 101. Kudos to everyone at Saxum. My visit began with two of Smith's experimental cuvees, which are only available to mailing list customers. As remarkable as the 2006s are, the 2007s are even more prodigious, showcasing just how brilliant certain Paso Robles terroirs can be. Even the most cynical observers of the Rhone Ranger scene will have to take notice of these wines. Even though some of the 2007s had just undergone bottling, I was blown away by how well they performed just a week after being bottled (often one of the worst times to taste a wine). In short, Saxum’s prodigious 2007s are even more nuanced, complex, and concentrated than their brilliant 2006s.

WS 92
Wine Spectator
Pushes the pedal on ripeness, touching on jammy, full-blown and concentrated. Blackberry, graphite, plum jam and wild berry fruit is mouthcoating, as are the tannins. With air, gains a measure of finesse. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2014. 900 cases made.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Wildly rich and exotic, massive in fruit of a grilled variety, and dry, this Rhône blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre offers tons of raspberries, cherries, herbs and spices. There’s some heat in the finish, but that’s a minor quibble. Decadent.
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Saxum
Saxum, , California
Saxum
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.

Portugal

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Best known for flavorful fortified wines but also producing excellent dry wines, Portugal is unique in that it relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to the west on the Iberian Peninsula, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, perhaps due in part to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. Portugal is a long and narrow country, which makes for considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast. With the exception of Port, most Portuguese wines have struggled to garner attention in the international marketplace, perhaps due to the unfamiliar and difficult to pronounce nature of most of its grape varieties and terminology, which means that there are many excellent values to be discovered here by the adventurous consumer. The country is perhaps better known for being the world’s leader in cork production than for its wine.

Port, made in the Douro Valley, is the fortified wine for which Portugal is most famous. The same region also produces full-bodied dry wines made from the same set of grape varieties, which include Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo). The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast. Other dry wines of the mainland include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde of the north, the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão, and the bold, jammy reds of the Alentejo.

Blended from the most important red grapes of the Duoro Valley, Port is th e famous fortified wine from Portugal. Though it is based on the Touriga Nacional grape, there are officially over 80 varieties that can be used in Port production. Usually, in addition to Touriga Nacional, it is only four main varieties that typically finish up the blend: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Francesa. Other wine regions of the world produce fortified wine of a similar style from the same grapes or others.

There are numerous styles of Port: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, LBV, White, Colheita, and a few unusual others.

Ruby ports usually pack the most value and are ready to drink once bottled. Typical characteristics are ripe cherry and blackberry flavors with stewed plums, cocoa and dates.

Tawny ports are “tawny” in color and have flavors of toffee, caramel, toasted pecans, vanilla, dried apricot, citrus peel, green figs and roasted espresso. The age designation on a Tawny Port indicates the average year of the grapes in the bottle.

When Port is made with high quality grapes selected from a single notable vintage, it is called Vintage Port. Some of the best recent vintages are 2011, 2009, 2007, 2003, 2000, 1997 and 1994. Vintage Ports are complex and full-bodied with many flavors possible: concentrated blackberry, black cherry, raspberry and spice, smoke, coffee and chocolate.

LBV Port comes from a single-vintage Ruby Port and may spend six years in the barrel before being bottled. These are ready to drink upon release. Serve most Ports slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.

LSB100762_2006 Item# 100762

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