2011 Saxum "James Berry Vineyard" Paso Robles Rhône Blend (1.5L)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
96+ Reminding me of a top 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape (the 2010 Raymond Usseglio Cuvee Imperiale to be exact), the 2011 James Berry Vineyard is a blend of 69% Grenache, 13% Mourvedre, 13% Syrah, 2% Counoise, and a splash of Roussanne, that was aged in a combination of concrete (Grenache) and larger oak puncheons. A fresh, detailed and more elegant example of the cuvee, it offers gorgeous notes of ripe berry fruit, loads of exotic spice, violets, pepper and lavender to go with a full-bodied, beautifully pure and layered profile on the palate. It's no blockbuster, but has loads of energy and tension, as well as class and refinement. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy it over the following decade or longer. (JD)
Dark red plums, exotic spices, crushed flowers, menthol and new leather are some of the nuances that blossom as the 2011 James Berry Vineyard opens up in the glass. The use of 33% whole clusters adds texture and aromatic complexity in a wine that impresses for its purity. Some of the Grenache was done in concrete, which allows the true personality of the fruit to shine. Hints of tar, game and licorice meld into the expressive finish. (AG)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(69% grenache, 15% mourvedre, 13% syrah, 2% counoise and 1% roussanne; 15.5% alcohol): Inky ruby. Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of red fruit liqueur, lavender and Asian spices, with a bright mineral overtone. Rich and fleshy but lively, offering intense raspberry and cherry-cola flavors and exotic star anise and floral pastille accents. Silky tannins sneak in late and add shape to a long, smooth and alluringly sweet finish. The grenache in this blend was raised in a large concrete vat. (JR)
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.