2016 Pax, Carignan, Testa Vineyard, Mendocino County.
The joyously tasty all carbonic Pax Carignan comes of the old Testa Vineyard in Mendocino County, from vines that were originally planted back in 1912 by Gaetano and Maria Testa on a slight rise that is covered in deep Yakayo Series sandy-loam soil. This soil was derived from sedimentary rock, and this is some of the fluffiest and lightest soils Pax has ever seen, with the vines all dry-farmed and organic, which limits the yields and adds to the layering of flavors and the concentration that ends up in the wine. Maria the Testa’s great granddaughter and her husband Rusty, are the 4th generation to run the property and do so with great care and respect for the land and the family traditions. Pax expresses the site by using the old vine 100% Carignan, that as mentioned is 100% carbonic maceration and using 100% whole-cluster, as well as employing only native yeasts. He (Pax Mahle) ages the Testa Carignan in neutral French Oak puncheons, and this beautifully detailed vintage came in at just 11.9% natural alcohol making for a bright and crunchy wine that is easy to quaff.
This 2016 is forward and juicy with a deep fruit profile that leans on blueberry, plum and currant, but is balanced nicely by the stems, that adds a tangy, savory background that really balances everything to perfection with hints of sage, basil and anise along with fresh vibrant acids, a mineral note and crushed violets. This medium bodied Carignan is pure joy in the glass and impresses the senses with it’s vivid purple/garnet color and burst of fruit, spice and crisp lines. Pax Wines, which was founded back in 2000, are Rhone specialists and while known for his world class Syrah bottlings, Pax has also created a gorgeous line of alternative offerings including a fun Gamay, Chenin Blanc, Trousseau Gris, and this gem of a Carignan, all of which are mostly sold direct, as they are made in such limited quantities. Pax, who’s recovering from the floods that swamped his winery in Sebastopol, is one of California’s best and most influential winemakers and his latest wines are stylish and impeccably made, don’t miss a chance to help him out and be rewarded with some great wines!
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive