Starting off the more southern Rhone-inspired blends, the 2005 James Berry Vineyard is a brilliant effort that’s drinking perfectly. Made from 70% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache, it gives up incredible aromas of sweet blackcurrants, blackberry liqueur, spiced meats, licorice and roasted meats that are just now starting to show hints of evolution. Sweetly fruited and with full-bodied richness, this beauty is hard to resist and has fabulous concentration, sweet tannin and a seamless finish. It will have another decade of longevity, yet there is no harm in drinking it now. (JD)
Solidly in the Saxum style, which is to say a high alcohol (15.5%), massively flavored wine of enormous concentration and power. The blackberry, cherry, cassis and chocolate flavors have all kind of overtones, ranging from licorice and vanilla to gingerbread and candied violets. Saxum has become a cult favorite, one of the highest-priced brands from Paso Robles, and wines like this are the reason why. *Best of 2008*
Deep ruby. Intense raspberry and blackberry aromas are underscored by suave minerality and fresh violet, with a gentle tobacco quality adding depth. Medium in weight but packed with rich, sweet berry fruit and exotic floral pastille flavors. Seems to gain energy on the finish, which echoes the mineral and floral character. Very impressive and sure to reward at least four or five years of cellaring. (JR)
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