That approach includes organic farming, foot-crushing the grapes, natural fermentations and absolutely no fining or filtering. He contends that his style of winemaking is really without a style.
It is also worth noting that their approach to customer service is a throwback to another era as well. Everyone I have ever interacted with has been very personable, genuine and helpful. They also sent me a handwritten and thoughtful thank you note after I had ordered my wine.
Mahle used to work as a wine buyer at Dean & DeLuca. After tasting a few thousand wines for his job at D&D, he became convinced that the cool coastal vineyards of northern California could produce his beloved Rhône style of nuanced, layered Syrah.
He might have been on to something as he seems to be developing quite a following. A couple of years ago a special five-case lot of his 2004 Pax Wine Cellars Syrah sold for an auction-high $18,000 at the Paso Robles Hospice du Rhône benefit.
Pax has produced a Rousssane in previous vintages, but this is their first Marsanne/Roussane/Viognier release.
Light, golden straw in color and a little cloudy in the glass. Pear, apple with soft white flower and wet stone on the nose. Pear, honey, vanilla, pepper, buttered almond and wet cement one the palate — pronounced minerality with creamy acidity and a lingering finish. Oak is there for structure, but it is also very subtle. More appealing as the wine continues to open through the course of the evening.
Had I not known it was from California, I might have guessed this wine was from the the Rhône valley — proof that he doesn’t just produce Rhône-like Syrahs.
Certainly not a value, but a great bottle of wine. I wish I could afford to drink Pax wines on a more regular basis as I would put them on my short list best producers in California.
44 % Roussanne / 38% Marsanne / 18% Viognier
10 % new French Oak
13.5 % Alc by Vol
165 cases produced
Other wines from Pax:
Pax Syrah Sonoma Hillsides Russian River Valley 2006