The 2011 Syrah James Berry Vineyard Bone Rock opens in the glass with complex aromas of ripe black fruits, rich spice, cracked pepper, licorice and savory notions of grilled meats. On the palate, it's full-bodied, fine-grained and intensely concentrated, with a firm, tight-knit core and unusual energy. The finish is long, precise and penetrating. While the 2011 vintage tends to be tainted by association with the challenges producers faced on California's North Coast, conditions were not so adverse in Paso Robles: at Saxum, the year seems to have produced some of the most tight-knit wines of Justin Smith's career, and the wines have the potential to be unusually long-lived. (WK) 97+
The 2011 Bone Rock is the wine where all of the Saxum signatures intersect with the personality of the year to the fullest. A healthy dollop of Roussanne gives the Bone Rock extraordinary aromatic lift and nuance to balance the intense varietal fruit. Layers of dark plums, sage, rose petal, tobacco, new leather and spice blossom in an extraordinary wine of precision, power and depth. Expressive floral notes are woven throughout, adding to the wine's beguiling, complex personality. This is a fabulous showing from Saxum made all the more notable by the challenges of the year. (AG)
Inky purple. Heady, floral- and spice-accented scents of black and blue fruits, incense and licorice. Stains the palate with intense cassis and blueberry flavors that are lifted by vibrant spice and floral pastille nuances. Becomes sweeter and more energetic with air and finishes with superb clarity and length and smooth, fully absorbed tannins. This is on the short list of the best wines that I tasted from California this year. (JR)
Classic notes of pepper and wild berry give this sturdy red plenty of backbone and tension. The tannins are more muscular and gripping than in recent vintages, giving the flavors traction and length. (JL)
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