The Best of the Best 2003: Domestic Red Wines - Saxum 2000 James Berry Vineyard Bone Rock Syrah

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Paso Robles, which lies inland from San Simeon along California’s Central Coast, is without doubt one of the exciting wine regions in the United States, thanks largely to the creative and entrepreneurial spirits of winemakers like Justin Smith of Saxum Vineyards, whose remarkable Saxum 2000 James Berry Vineyard Bone Rock Syrah is not only a mouthful to say, but also to drink. Taking fruit from the Bone Rock segment of his family’s James Berry Vineyard, this young winemaker has unleashed a powerful Syrah that will achieve a loyal following among the growing number of aficionados of this grape. Heavily concentrated and ripe, this Syrah has gathered up the potent and dusty herbal flavors of California’s distinctive chaparral—sage and scrub oak, licorice and wildflowers. Beautifully composed, this wine speaks to its maker’s considerable talent.

Saxum Vineyards, 805.610.0363, $50

Photograph courtesy of hotel Matlali
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