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Saxum James Berry Vineyard 2015

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • RP97
  • JD96
  • WS95
15.5% ABV
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15.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2015 has the lowest level of Grenache any JBV has maybe ever seen, due to the poor set of Saxum's old Grenache vines. It is an aromatic beast, with chocolate dipped cherries dominating, but following closely on it’s heels are the notes of what the French call garrigue and us Californians call sagebrush, black sage to pinpoint it. The mouthfeel is soft and supple, inviting in it’s open structure, with this great core of pure freshness, and the finish just doesn’t stop.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Made from 33% Grenache, 32% Mourvèdre, 24% Syrah and 11% Counoise, the 2015 James Berry Vineyard Proprietary Red reveals a deep garnet-purple color and expressive nose of black currants, black cherries and mulberries with hints of baking spices, chocolate box, violets and Sichuan pepper. The palate is surprisingly elegant, with great intensity of flavors framed by soft, sensuous tannins and a lively line carrying the fruit and spices to a long, long finish.
JD 96
Jeb Dunnuck
Checking in as a blend of 33% Grenache, 32% Mourvèdre, 24% Syrah and 11% Counoise, the 2015 James Berry Vineyard had just been bottled, but certainly wasn’t showing the worse for it. It’s deep ruby/purple tinged color is followed by an incredible bouquet of black raspberries, garrigue-like herbs, white pepper and spring flowers. Ethereally textured, silk, full-bodied and perfectly balanced, it has substantial tannin, yet they’re ripe, polished and fine, and it has a terrific finish. Like all great wines, it stays light and weightless on the palate, and will evolve for another decade or more.
WS 95
Wine Spectator
A dynamic combination of power and refinement, with a penetrating but balanced core of polished tannins and expressive blackberry, stony mineral and dark licorice flavors that finish with verve. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Counoise. Drink now through 2028.
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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.
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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.

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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.

NVS307006_2015 Item# 307006