2010 Saxum "Booker Vineyard" Paso Robles Rhône Blend

SKU #1125550 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2010 Syrah Booker Vineyard - a blend of 81% Syrah and 19% Mourvedre - is about as textbook a representation of a Paso Robles Syrah as I can think of. Locked and loaded with notions of ripe black and blue fruits, smoke, bouquet garni, espresso, and licorice, it is unabashedly full-bodied, rich, and yet elegant on the palate. Showing real class, as well as first-rate freshness, superb depth and concentration, and masses of tannin, this blockbuster Syrah needs a solid 3-4 years of bottle age to flesh out, and will keep for 15-20 years or more. A benchmark estate for California, Saxum, under the helm of superstar winemaker Justin Smith, continues to produce some of the most compelling, profound wines on the planet. While Smith’s wines are always full-flavored and intense, there has been a stylistic change over recent vintages, with the wines showing more obvious tannin and structure, as well as additional minerality and savory qualities. These 2010s exemplify this change and are all serious, structured efforts that will need bottle age to blossom. (JD)  (7/2014)

95 points Vinous

 A full-throttle Paso Syrah, the 2010 Booker Vineyard explodes onto the palate with an exotic melange of black fruit, smoke, tar and game. The style is decidedly masculine, virile and imposing. There is an immediacy to the Booker that is impossible to miss. At the same time, this is a wine that tells you everything right up front. Might there be something more to discover in this site? The 2010 is 81% Syrah and 19% Mourvèdre, aged in 350 liter barrels, 60-70% new. (AG)  (7/2013)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky purple. An explosively perfumed bouquet evokes spicy red and dark berry liqueur, Indian spices, vanilla and floral oils. Spicy black raspberry and cherry-vanilla flavors are complicated by notes of violet pastille and show a plush, seamless texture. Gains weight with air but retains clarity. The spicy note carries through an impressively long, juicy finish, which features ripe, harmonious tannins. (JR)  (11/2012)

94 points Wine Spectator

 A sizable wine that's rich, intense and harmonious, with a nuanced mix of extracted blackberry, spice, plum, licorice and cigar box flavors. Best to cellar. (JL)  (3/2013)

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Paso Robles

- Located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this inland AVA enjoys a sunny and hot growing period while its seaside neighbors hang in the fog. Zinfandel is the traditional red grape of choice, though cabernet, chardonnay, and Rhône varietals are gaining favor. Most are made in a fruit-forward, early drinking style.