2016 PAX Sonoma Hillside, Sonoma Coast 100 points
The 2016 Syrah Sonoma-Hillsides has been nothing less than stunning on the three occasions I have tasted it so far. A wine of extraordinary purity and depth, the 2016 dazzles from the very first taste. The richness and power are simply breathtaking. Bacon fat, smoke, grilled herb and lavender are woven into a graceful, seamless core of inky blue/purplish fruit. Even with all of its intensity, the 2016 remains remarkable light on its feet. The Sonoma-Hillsides is a blend of fruit from Castelli-Knight Ranch, Griffin’s Lair and Walker Vine Hill, done with 100% whole clusters and aged in a combination of concrete and neutral oak, with no SO2. I am not sure it will matter, as most bottles will be long gone before that is an issue. Quite simply, the Sonoma-Hillsides is a total pleasure bomb and a modern-day benchmark for Syrah in California. Don’t miss out! Drinking Window 2018 – 2026. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, April 2018)
2016 PAX Sonoma Hillside, Sonoma Coast 100 points
2015 PAX Chenin Blanc Buddhas Dharma Vineyard 91 points
The 2015 Chenin Blanc Buddhas Dharma Vineyard is bold, ample and creamy on the palate, with plenty of apricot pit chamomile, dried flower and honey notes. These old vines, planted in the 1940s, along with the natural richness of the year, produced an especially phenolic, intense expression of Chenin.
Drinking Window 2017 – 2021. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, Jan. 2017)
2015 PAX The Vicar North Coast 90 points
The 2015 The Vicar, Pax’s entry-level, Grenache, is terrific. Pliant, supple and nuanced, the 2015 offers lovely purity of fruit in a silky, mid-weight, refreshing style that is ideal for drinking now and over the next few years, while the fruit remains fresh and vibrant. In 2015, the Vicar is equal parts Castelli-Knight Ranch and Alder Springs Grenache, vinified with 100% whole clusters. Drinking Window 2018 – 2022. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, April 2018)
2015 PAX The Hermit North Coast 88 points
The 2015 The Hermit (Syrah) tastes very ripe and sweet, which is probably a reflection of an early-ripening vintage with very low yields, as the wine was aged in neutral oak. There is plenty of depth to the inky blue/purplish fruit, but most of the wine’s appeal is upfront, as the intensity tails off on the mid-palate and finish. The 2015 was done with 100% whole clusters. Fruit sources are Castelli-Knight Ranch, Griffin’s Lair, Walker Vine Hill Syrah and Alder Springs Syrah. Drinking Window 2018 – 2021. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, April 2018)
2015 PAX Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard 92+ points
Pax’s 2015 Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard is powerful, dense and brooding, with very little vintage 2015 sexiness. Tiny yields of just 0.75 tons per acre mark the wine to a significant degree in both the intensity of fruit and tannin. Savory herb, leather, smoke, tobacco nuances open up in the glass, but the 2015 is a decidedly powerful, brooding wine that needs time to unwind. The question is whether there will be enough fruit when the tannins soften. There is a lot going on here, that much is obvious. Drinking Window 2020 – 2030. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, April 2018)
2014 PAX Syrah Kobler Family Vineyard (92-95)
The 2014 Syrah Kobler Family Vineyard is supple racy and expressive, with gorgeous texture and tons of overall balance. With time in the glass, floral and savory notes from the 100% whole clusters take on greater prominence, adding considerable inner perfume and complexity. Although it is early, the 2014 Kobler is shaping up to be another winner from Pax Wine Cellars.
(Antonio Galloni, Jan. 2015)
2013 PAX Syrah Castelli Knight Ranch (94-96)
My favorite of the 2013s he offered was the 2013 Syrah Castelli-Knight Ranch, which smelled of pen ink, graphite, blackberries, forest floor and pepper, was quite full-bodied and had beautiful acidity.
(eRobertParker.com #216, Robert M. Parker, Jr., Dec. 2014)
Pax Mahle had the creative idea of matching the soil color of the different vineyards he utilizes with the color of “Pax.” For instance, the white, chalky, limestone soils of the James Berry Vineyard merit a white “Pax” label, etc.
2012 PAX Grenache, Alder Springs Vineyard 93-95
Made from 100% Grenache, the 2012 Grenache Alder Springs Vineyard displays a dense ruby/purple color, lots of black fruits, a full-bodied richness, impressive purity, a floral component, and good minerality. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.
Drink: 2013 – 2020 (Robert M. Parker, Jr., Dec. 2013)
2011 PAX Syrah Castelli Knight Ranch (92-94)
Pax’s 2011 Syrah Castelli Knight Ranch bursts from the glass with explosive fruit. Savory herbs, black olives, tobacco, smoke and licorice add complexity to the fruit in this layered, totally impeccable wine. There is so much to like and admire in the 2011, a wine that is literally bursting at the seams with varietal character. Simply put, the 2011 is superb. The 2011 is 100% Syrah, vinified with 100% whole clusters and aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Drinking Window 2014-2019. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, July 2013)
2010 PAX Syrah Griffin’S Lair Sonoma Coast 93
(made with 75% whole clusters; 13.5% alcohol): Glass-staining ruby. A flamboyantly perfumed bouquet displays scents of cherry liqueur, cassis, bitter chocolate, anise and espresso, complicated by notes of dried flowers. Then youthful and vibrant in the mouth, offering energetic, finely etched flavors of ripe blackberry and boysenberry. Creamy and powerful but with excellent focus and vivacity. The sweet dark berry flavors linger impressively on the smooth, gently tannic finish.
(IWC, Stephen Tanzer, May 2013)