2018 Pax Wine Cellars, Syrah, Majik Vineyard, Sonoma Coast.
A thrilling svory and powerful, Northern Rhone, cool climate Syrah from the Syrah specialist Pax Mahle, sourced from the Majik Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast showing a full bodied palate, but with remarkably low natural alcohol, a highlight of the vintage and the natural winemaking here, fans of Clape, Jamet and or Allemand with love this purple/garnet colored wine. The nose and palate are totally in synch with boysenberry, blueberry, currant and plum fruits, crushed violets, salted black licorice, peppercorns, graphite and olive tapenade notes coming through in the mouth along with a faint bacon/meaty element and sweet kirsch. This is very serious stuff and a bit of a sleeper in Pax’s sublime collection of Syrah offerings, it has all the energy and whole cluster punch you could ever want and it gets better and better with time in the glass and I suggest decanting and having this Majik Vineyard Syrah with a robust meal and or Zuni roast Chicken with bitter greens. I had not had a bottle of this Majik before, as I usually opt for Pax’s Castelli-Knight and or the Sonoma Hillsides, but this ’18 is wonderfully expressive and it’s now a favorite.

Pax says that the Majik Vineyard is a tiny vineyard, just 1 acre of vines set on marine sediment soils and high up on a ridge in the Sebastopol Hills, due west of downtown Sebastopol. Mahle adds that this site was planted in 2000, so it is getting nicely mature now, and it has a selection of clone 7 Syrah, also he explains that this small planting has been a monumental vineyard in terms of relearning the limits of ripeness in Syrah grown here in the extreme west county. For his Majik Vineyard Syrah, Mahle employed a full native yeast and whole cluster fermentation with a cool lengthy maceration to express all of the heightened details here and the wine was pressed to well seasoned neutral French oak barrels where it rested for 10 months before bottling. The Pax label was founded in 2000 by Pax and Pamela Mahle, focusing mainly on Syrah, as well in recent years, some Gamay Noir, all from cool, coastal sites, along with as a selection of esoteric varieties, like Trousseau Gris, Charbono, the Mission Grape and Chenin Blanc, that Pax says, showcase the great diversity of California wine. Pax’s signature Syrahs, like this one with its Cornas like profile, are highly coveted and speak to their vineyards, which are all organic or biodynamic, making for raw and transparent wines with age worthy structures.
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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