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2004 Pax Wine Cellars Syrah Sonoma Hillsides
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88? Points | Stephen Tanzer's IWC - May/June 2006

($28; a roughly 50/50 blend of syrah and grenache; 15.4% alcohol) Aromas of blackberry, black raspberry and roasted meat. Sweet, grapey and simple, with strong acidity giving it a slightly tart edge. Compared to most of the wines that follow, these tannins, which Mahle says come more from the grenache than from the syrah, are only moderately ripe, giving the wine a somewhat aggressive character.

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About California

It is remarkable that an industry essentially less than a half-century old could capture the attention of the American wine-buying public to the degree that California has. Powerful consumer interest in California wine is driven by two major factors. The more obvious reason is that California's best wines, which come from grapes grown in...

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While the grape is currently grown throughout the world, the most elegant Syrahs still come from the Northern Rhone valley, particularly the appellations of Côte Rôtie, Cornas, and Hermitage. Here, steep, terraced vineyards help produce full-bodied, intense, tannic wines loaded with white pepper and red fruit. In the vineyard, Syrah is largely cooperative- vines are productive, but not overly vigorous. Skins are thick, helping the grape...
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