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Flat front label of wine

Saxum James Berry Vineyard 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • RP96
  • WS93
15.5% ABV
  • RP97
  • V97
  • JD96
  • WS95
  • RP98
  • WS97
  • RP97
  • RP97
  • RP97
  • WS94
  • RP98
  • WS97
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  • RP98
  • WS97
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  • WS98
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  • WS92
  • WE92
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15.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Aromatically complex, with spices and dried herbs taking the forefront but red fruits are right behind. Think of eating strawberry rhubarb pie with a dried thyme crust while sitting next to a fresh cut bouquet of lavender and roses, that's the nose on it. The flavors follow suit, not extremely weighty on the pallet, it more dances around on your tongue, with a long clean focused finish that echoes strawberry and thyme.

Blend: 69% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 13% Syrah, 2% Counoise, 1% Roussanne

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 James Berry Vineyard is a lithe, lively and energetic example of this cuvee. Made from 69% Grenache, 13% Mourvedre, 13% Syrah, 2% Counoise (first vintage to have this variety) and a splash of Roussanne, with the Grenache brought up in concrete and everything else in puncheon, it offers up stunningly pure raspberry, blackberry, pepper, violets, flowers and spice to go with a full-bodied, elegant mouthfeel that builds on the palate. Seamless, pure and with fine tannin framing the finish, it will need short-term cellaring and drink beautifully through 2026. Drink 2015-2026.
Range: 94-96
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Pure, rich and deeply flavored, this muscular effort centers around penetrating blackberry, black licorice, charcoal and loamy earth notes. Ends with rustic, chewy tannins that will need a few years of cellaring to subside. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Counoise and Roussanne. Best from 2015 through 2026
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Saxum
Saxum, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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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.

Paso Robles

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Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.

Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.

This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

YAO128530_2011 Item# 128530