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2005 Saxum Vineyards Syrah James Berry Vineyard Bone Rock Paso Robles
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95 Points | Stephen Tanzer's IWC - November/December 2007

($75; 93% syrah and 7% grenache) Glass-staining purple. Exotic boysenberry, kirsch and candied violet aromas are positively intoxicating, expanding with air and picking up a wild, head shop-like character. Deep, chewy and sweet, offering palate-coating dark berry liqueur flavors and urgent mineral lift. It's remarkable for a wine to possess such weight and sweetness while maintaining focus-even elegance. Finishes with outstanding breadth and cling, leaving flowers and boysenberry in its wake. "This is the last one we'll release this year," owner/winemaker Justin Smith told me, also noting that he's not afraid to put syrah into a high percentage of new oak, depending on the vintage, since "it's a variety that can easily handle it."

93 Points | Wine Spectator
97 Points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

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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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