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Professional Ratings: 95 The Wine Advocate, 93 International Wine Cellar, 92 Wine Spectator
Region: Central Coast, California
Varietal: Rhone Red Blends
Other Info: Boutique Wines, Collectible Wines
Item no. 100762
The 2006 James Berry has changed somewhat from the 2005 vintage. We like the Grenache element in it so much, we decided to keep all the Rocket Block Grenache part in the James Berry blend. Sorry Rocket Block fans, but we really want the James Berry to be the best wine we can make using fruit from all of our varied parcels at James Berry Vineyard.
Blend: 45% Syrah, 38% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre
An unfined/unfiltered blend of 45% Syrah, 38% Grenache, and 17% Mourvedre, aged 32 months in a combination of wood vessels, the prodigious 2006 James Berry Vineyard Proprietary Red exhibits beautiful sweet creme de cassis, black raspberry, blackberry, truffle, smoke, and herb notes. This spicy, rich, full-bodied effort should drink beautifully for a decade. One of California's super-star producers, Saxum owns one of the state’s most remarkable vineyard sites, the James Berry Vineyard, which has been broken into a number of different blocks, all planted on rocky limestone hillsides. This estate’s approach to winemaking is decidedly artisinal, with extraordinarily small yields as well as a minimalistic winemaking philosophy. Proprietors Justin and Heather Smith, who seem much too young to be producing such prodigious wines, fashion separate blends from the different blocks of the James Berry Vineyard. They also produce a cuvee from the 7-acre Heart Stone Vineyard (also planted on limestone soils) and one from the Booker Vineyard. Saxum’s 2006s are all home runs, but the utterly prodigious 2007s should resonate for decades, and showcase the brilliant potential of these limestone hillside sites west of Highway 101. Kudos to everyone at Saxum. My visit began with two of Smith's experimental cuvees, which are only available to mailing list customers. As remarkable as the 2006s are, the 2007s are even more prodigious, showcasing just how brilliant certain Paso Robles terroirs can be. Even the most cynical observers of the Rhone Ranger scene will have to take notice of these wines. Even though some of the 2007s had just undergone bottling, I was blown away by how well they performed just a week after being bottled (often one of the worst times to taste a wine). In short, Saxum’s prodigious 2007s are even more nuanced, complex, and concentrated than their brilliant 2006s.
Bright ruby-red. Deeper dark berries and ripe cherry on the nose, complicated by dark chocolate and licorice. The cherry and chocolate qualities build with air and carry onto the palate, adding depth to the sweet blackberry and cassis flavors. Smoother and more dense than the Heart Stone, with a strong finishing jolt of candied licorice and black olive. Really showing its syrah today.
Pushes the pedal on ripeness, touching on jammy, full-blown and concentrated. Blackberry, graphite, plum jam and wild berry fruit is mouthcoating, as are the tannins. With air, gains a measure of finesse. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2014. 900 cases made.