2017 Pax, Syrah, North Coast.
The once in a while rarity, Pax’s North Coast Syrah is a multi-regional blend of sites, or as Pax puts it, this 100% Syrah is a blend of all of his favorite vineyards done with 100% whole cluster, 100% carbonic fermentation(s) in concrete and with partial concrete aging with a small part of the blend raised in neutral French oak, all together for 10 months. In 2017, Pax didn’t feel all the single vineyard sites merited separate bottlings, so this resulting wine is far more pedigreed than the label would suggest. This makes for a vibrant and complex wine with surprising depth for the price, showing tangy youthful grapey character at this stage, it should really develop into a more serious effort over the next year or two in bottle and age well for at least 10 years gaining throughout, though highly enjoyable and quaffable right now. In fact it is so fun and crunchy it reminds me somewhat of a Dutraive Fleurie or Lapierre Morgon in style, but with a pure Syrah profile with black raspberry, blueberry, sugar plums, zesty currant and candied cherry fruits along with cracked pepper, frisky acidity, mineral notes, camphor, dried basil, anisette, cut flowers and cinnamon.
The textural quality builds with air, but the stems add bite and energy highlighting the fresh details, it is much more brambly than the longer elevage Pax Syrahs, like the single vineyard and or Sonoma Hillsides versions, less polished and less opulent, but with the classic cool climate personality of a none AOC Northern Rhone Syrah, similar to Clape’s Le Vin des Amis or the Domaine Jamet Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes. On day two being open the 2017 Pax North Coast Syrah does flesh out a lot and it adds some deeper fruit intensity and earthiness which leads to a more hedonistic presence on the palate, but still with its vigorous form holding on making for a very impressive performance. Pax has just released this for his Spring offering, and you shouldn’t miss it, it joins his other Glou Glou style no sulfur added wines, the Trousseau Gris with it’s slightly pinkish hue and his dark colored, but light and low alcohol Valdiguié. After a troubled winter with floods, Pax’s Spring is looking uo his latest set of wines are wonderfully crafted and exciting, check them out while they last.
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive