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Saxum James Berry Vineyard 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • RP96
  • WS93
15.5% ABV
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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
2011 James Berry Vineyard
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, fruity, and powerful wines. With 11 smaller sub-AVAs, there is quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.

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, and Rhône varieties both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruity, 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 spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

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, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red 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, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

YAO128530_2011 Item# 128530

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