PAX 2013 Vintage Reviews

2013 PAX Syrah Hermit Sonoma 90
The 2013 Syrah The Hermit is a blend of fruit from several sites, including Alder Springs, Castelli-Knight Ranch and Griffin’s Lair. Tobacco, plum, smoke, dark cherry and grilled herbs open up nicely, with supporting beams of tannin that give the wine much of its personality. The Hermit is a bit dense and burly today, yet it delivers tons of personality in the Pax style.
Drinking window: 2016 – 2021. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, Jan. 2016)

Pax Mahle continues to sharpen his focus with the current incarnation of his Pax label. A new Carignane and the Hermit Syrah have both been introduced with the goal of delivering maximum value. The Walker Vine Hill and Kobler Syrahs, both previously vineyard-designates, now go into the Hermit, leaving the Castelli Knight Ranch, Alder Springs and Griffin’s Lair Syrahs as single vineyard wines. As always, the Pax wines are a bit richer than the wines Pax Mahle makes at Wind Gap (although far removed from the style of a decade ago), which Mahle ascribes to the personalities of generally warmer sites that ripen at higher sugars. The Syrahs are all done with 100% whole clusters and aged in neutral oak. I was particularly impressed with the 2014s.

2013 PAX Grenache Castelli-Knight Ranch Russian River Valley 91
The 2013 Grenache Castelli-Knight Ranch is bold and racy, with generous sweet red cherry and plum fruit front and center. This fleshy, exuberant Russian River Grenache will be at its joyous best over the next handful of years.
Drinking window: 2016 – 2021. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, Jan. 2016)

2013 PAX Syrah Cahto Ridge Alder Springs Vineyard 93
Arguably the highlight in this range, the 2013 Syrah Alder Springs opens with soaring, lifted aromatics, one of the signatures of this high-altitude site on decomposed sandstone that is brought out even further through the inclusion of 100% whole clusters. Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, game and tobacco develop in the glass, filling out the wine’s layered frame nicely. The balance of aromatics, fruit and structure is completely dialed in. This is a gorgeous wine from Pax.
Drinking window: 2017 – 2025. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, Jan. 2016)

2013 PAX Syrah Cahto Ridge Alder Springs Vineyard (90-93)
I’ll report on the 2013s next year, but Pax Mahle showed me three barrel samples, including the 2013 Syrah Cahto Ridge, which used 100% stems and had beautiful blueberry and black raspberry fruit notes.
( #216, Robert M. Parker, Jr., Dec. 2014)

2013 PAX Syrah Griffin’s Lair Sonoma Coast 95
The 2013 Syrah Griffins Lair Vineyard is another utterly compelling, vivid wine. Dark red plum, pomegranate, blood orange exotic spices infuse the mid palate, followed by wilder, gamier notes that develop over time. A blast of ripe red cherry, smoke, game and cured meats puts an exclamation point on this striking Syrah from Pax Wine Cellars. Precise and nuanced, but with tons of intensity, the Griffin’s Lair is a total knock-out. Don’t miss it.
Drinking Window 2016 – 2025.(Vinous, Antonio Galloni, Jan. 2016)

2013 PAX Syrah Griffin’s Lair Sonoma Coast (92-94)
The 2013 Griffin’s Lair Vineyard, again with 100% stems, was primary with damp earth, pepper, meat and black cherry and blackcurrant fruit.
( #216, Robert M. Parker, Jr., Dec. 2014)

2013 PAX Syrah Castelli Knight Ranch 93
One of the highlights in this range, the 2013 Syrah Castelli-Knight Ranch is powerful, dense and explosive. The 100% whole clusters add aromatic nuance and savoriness but are also nicely balanced by the sheer intensity of the fruit. Inky blue and purplish-toned stone fruit, spice, lavender, licorice and black pepper build into the huge, resonant finish. The 2013 could use a bit more time in bottle to allow the tannins to soften further. Even so, this is impressive stuff.
Drinking Window 2016 – 2025. (Vinous, Antonio Galloni, Jan. 2017)

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.
( #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.

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