2002 Pax "Sonoma Hillsides" Sonoma County Syrah (Previously $35)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The least expensive offering here is the very good 2002 Syrah Sonoma Hillsides, a full-bodied, saturated dark ruby-colored effort displaying forward aromas of white flowers, bitter chocolate, blackberries, licorice, and earth. Chunky and fleshy, it is ideal for drinking over the next 5-6 years. Interestingly, Pax Mahle told me there is about 2% Marsanne and Roussanne in the blend. This is a very exciting operation run by one of northern California’s new young turks, who is proving to have a formidable ability to translate cool climate vineyard sites into terrific wines ... all with no formal training.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep ruby-red. Smoky aromas of black raspberry, currant, bitter chocolate and roasted meat. Lush, smooth and silky, with sound framing acidity and nicely integrated oak. Finishes with sweet tannins and good length. Just lacks the excitement and verve for an outstanding rating.
Taut, with earthy, leafy, beefy bay leaf aromas; the flavors clamp down on the palate and have a dry earth and chalky edge that, while appealing, is far less exuberant in its presentation of fruit than the single-vineyard offerings from this producer. Drink now through 2008. 507 cases made. (Web Only, 2004)