2008 Saxum "Booker Vineyard" Paso Robles Rhône Blend

SKU #1070060 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2008 Booker Vineyard (92% Syrah and 8% Mourvedre, which had also been bottled immediately before my visit) has an opaque purple color and a wonderfully sweet nose of black cherry, black currant, licorice, incense, and some Asian spices. The wine has seamless lushness, a voluptuous texture, stunning purity, and a very long, 40-second-plus finish. Booker is another top site that I believe was planted with Justin Smith’s help. It is a 40-acre vineyard sitting on similar limestone soils. This incredible wine would probably benefit from a couple of years of cellaring, as the structure is more present, no doubt due to the high level of Syrah in the wine. (RP)  (8/2010)

96 points Jeb Dunnuck

 Showing the wild, brambly dark fruit that is Booker Vineyard, the 2008 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard, 92% Syrah and 8% Mourvedre, has a blockbuster nose of jammy blackberry and raspberry fruits, white chocolate, toasted spice, underbrush, and a touch of vanilla. Full bodied and beautifully balanced, even considering its size, it sports a huge texture, solid structure, and a long finish.  (11/2010)

96 points Wine Spectator

 Starts out open-knit, rich and fleshy, yet builds intensity. Powerful, yet with a measure of restraint, delivering supple plum, blackberry and wild berry fruit, with touches of mineral and black licorice. This wows you with both gushing fruit and a dancing delicacy of finesse. Ends with chunky fruit flavors. Syrah and Mourvèdre. Best from 2012 through 2024. (JL)  (2/2011)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky ruby. Raspberry and cherry preserves on the nose, with complicating notes of rose oil, Szechuan peppercorn and allspice. Impressively complex, sappy red berry compote flavors are given grip by a touch of cherry pit and gain sweetness with air. For such a massive wine there's uncanny energy here as well. (JR)  (11/2010)

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Price: $189.99
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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.
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.
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.