2008 Saxum "James Berry Vineyard" Paso Robles Rhône Blend

SKU #1062746 98 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark I had previously reviewed the 2008 Saxum James Berry Vineyard from a tasting at the winery, so it was enlightening to get to sit down, and drink through a full bottle. A blend of 52% Grenache, 31% Mourvèdre, and 17% Syrah, aged for 19 months in puncheons and smaller barrels, it presents an unabashedly Californian profile that oozes sweet fruit and flesh, but balances it with a seamless, weightless texture and perfect balance. Notes of sweet crème de cassis, raspberry, smoked meats, and flowers all soar from the glass and are followed by a powerful, yet polished wine that carries loads of perfectly ripe, sweet fruit, good acidity, gorgeous depth, and a blockbuster finish. Profound, and a joy to drink, this should easily evolve for 4-6 years, and perform brilliantly for 2 decades. Inner quote mark (3/2011)

98 points Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2008 James Berry Vineyard (52% Grenache, 31% Mourvèdre, 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) Inner quote mark (8/2010)

97 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark 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. *Collectibles, Top 100 of 2011* (JL) Inner quote mark (2/2011)

95 points Vinous

Outer quote mark 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. (JR) 95+ Inner quote mark (11/2010)

K&L Notes

Robert Parker for Wine Advocate: "James Berry Vineyard, which I have mentioned many times, remains one of the iconic grand cru sites of California, an extraordinary block of limestone soil spread over a moderately steep hillside. The amazing thing is that there are probably many other sites in the area that are still cow pastures and would probably be just as suitable for the production of high quality grapes. The Smith family (in this case, Justin and his wife Heather) have continued to fine-tune their wines, having moved to proprietary Rhone Ranger blends. All of them are extraordinary in quality. Their 2007s were their greatest vintage to date, but as the following tasting notes evidence, 2008 (which produced another tiny crop from the 55-acre James Berry Estate Vineyards) is extremely impressive as well. I think most readers will find – and this is the case for many wines from California’s Central Coast – that 2008 is a much more inconsistent vintage, but those who waited and waited have achieved impressive success. By and large (and there are always exceptions to the rule), the 2008s are more evolved than the 2007s were at the same time last year." (8/2020)

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Price: $159.99
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