2008 Saxum "James Berry Vineyard" Paso Robles Rhône Blend (1.5L)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 James Berry Vineyard (52% Grenache, 31% Mourvedre, and 17% Syrah) saw some of its Grenache aged in the concrete eggs that are now catching on among some of the top producers on California’s Central Coast. With strong minerality from the limestone soil, this exuberant, fleshy, full-bodied wine is already drinking well. (I believe it was actually bottled just a day or two before my visit, which makes its performance that much more remarkable.) Dense purple, with sweet notes of barbecue smoke and meats as well as roasted herbs, extravagant black cherry, black currant, and blackberry fruit are all present in this wine, but there is plenty of underlying structure that comes from both the minerality and the Mourvedre component. Pure, full-bodied, but again, impressively elegant and nuanced, this is a tour de force and another prodigious example of this extraordinary vineyard site. (RP)
*Top 100 Wines of 2011 ** Riveting aromas of fresh raspberry, mineral, wilted rose and wild berry turn firm and spicy, full-bodied and concentrated on the finish, yet the flavors dance with acidity. The purity of the crushed rock and snappy berry flavors is rivaled by the elegance and finesse evident in the texture, balance and length. Ends with a subtle touch of toasty oak and black licorice. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Drink now through 2024.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Glass-staining ruby. A drop-dead bouquet displays red and dark berry preserves, potpourri, incense and smoky minerals. Sweet, sappy and penetrating, with open-knit raspberry and blackberry flavors complemented by notes of candied rose and violet. The palate-staining finish is broad, spicy and extremely persistent. This wine is approachable now but really deserves a good five more years of age. (52% grenache, 31% syrah and 17% mourvedre; 15.8% alcohol)
Solidly in the Saxum style, which is to say a high alcohol (15.5%), massively flavored wine of enormous concentration and power. The blackberry, cherry, cassis and chocolate flavors have all kind of overtones, ranging from licorice and vanilla to gingerbread and candied violets. Saxum has become a cult favorite, one of the highest-priced brands from Paso Robles, and wines like this are the reason why. Drink now and through 2008. Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache.