TN: Bunch of Pax wines.

Drunk as I post this, so bear with me.

2018 Pax Syrah North Coast: I heard Pax talking about doing just one punchdown a week to keep that reductive or restrained style going and not over-extract. At only 12.6% ABV, it’s pretty lean. But what an interesting style to make Syrah in, different than most. I absolutely loved it. And with some air, it just grew and grew. Wish I’d bought more. Maybe not crowd-pleasing style, but for wine lovers - very nice. 93pts.

2019 Pax Mission: Harvested on the same day I took my 2019 from the same Somers Vineyard in the Mokelumne River AVA. They were around 24 Brix, roughly. Pax and Cappiello took about 20tons between the two of them, which is a pretty respectable amount, considering. Shows that they’re confident they can sell it. Wine has the tell-tale sign of Mission: great tannins and smoky, enveloped nature. This wine was probably carbonically fermented, as it seems to retain a bit more fruit than mine in comparison (or maybe fermented at lower temps?). In any case, it’s more of a glou-glou approach and a wonderful summer drinker. Straddling that fine line between a serious wine and a summer indulgence. Delicious. 91pts.

2019 Pax Gamay Noir Alpine Peaks: By this time I’d drunk a bit too much wine to retain notes… [drinkers.gif], but light in color, light in taste. Great. A little more fruity and perhaps more acidic than the Mission. Less tannins, less smoke, but in the same vein. 91pts.

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12.6% ABV is by no means lean for what Pax does. He routinely had some of his Wind Gap wines in the upper 11% area.

It’s interesting that Pax is pushing the label towards the leaner style. I was no fan of original Pax, as they were generally bigger wines than I preferred. Wind Gap mostly hit a sweet spot for me, until he started pushing towards more partial carbonic in wines that had been really good as they were. When Pax 2.0 hit I liked the general direction, as they were mostly like the bigger end of the Wind Gap spectrum. Now it’s all lean, semi-carbonic, acid driven all the time, and while I like a little of that, he has gone too far for me, and I quit buying.

I feel the same way sometimes drinking his wine but still buy a few offerings yearly. When its on its on… but when it misses… yikes.

Thanks for posting. I purchased the last two wines. Can’t wait to open.

I had your Tokay the other night and was delicious.

I think the North Coast Syrah is a real winner, and well priced, too. Agree very much with your note. The Mission definitely feels carbonic to me and, knowing Pax, I’m sure it is. We popped over to Sebastopol a couple weeks ago to see what was new there and, I will say, I absolutely love love love his Syrahs, but I’m never quite sure about the rest. Had a Trousseau Gris that was verging on mousy, a Petit Manseng that could’ve used some more weight, a Vermentino that was nice but unremarkable. I did like the Mission, and actually liked their new Charbono even more - that one was really tasty. But think in general I’ll be sticking with the Syrahs.


Ben - interesting note about his Petit Manseng. I took some fruit last year, so it would be good to try his just to see the take on it. But couldn’t see it on website - was it a special?

I remember reading about the whole Charles Banks/Terroir troubles Pax had with Wind Gap. As I understand Wind Gap does no longer exist? I know Mr Banks is in jail for fraud, but does Terroir still exist? They were part owners of Sandhi as well, as I recall.

Wind Gap is gone. I have not kept up with the rest.

To be fair, I wasn’t paying super closer attention (was there on my birthday and mostly enjoying the company of my spouse), it was served a touch too cold, and we went through the lineup fairly quickly. Having said that, I think there is a place in the world for a more restrained Petit Manseng, and the style tracked with Pax’s other current endeavors, I just prefer a bigger style for that grape to bring out the honeyed fruit it’s capable of. The wine was a 2019 and I can think of a couple reasons it might not be on the website - (1) they may not have made much and so decided only to pour and sell it at the tasting room; (2) it was the 2019 vintage, which I think may have been the first vintage of this wine, and they may be holding it for later release, since I think they do that for some of their other wines.

Just started drinking this, and I love it.

Very fun syrah.

Someone else on the board described it (I think disparagingly) as “dirty martini”. Totally. With some strips of smoked and peppered beef. A CellarTracker note mentioned castelvetrano olives – absolutely.

In contrast to another Cali syrah I enjoy, the Arnot-Roberts Sonoma Coast, I wouldn’t say it was masculine/rustic (opposed to the way the Arnot is feminine/chic)… but more like lusty peasant girl, like the character of the barwench from Jude The Obscure.

An extreme version of the savory syrah. Likey likey.

I agree with the too lean sentiment. I really liked the 2012-2015 pax single vineyard and hermit wines .

17 hillsides is probably the most controversial wine I’ve ever purchased lol. 18 hillsides is solid.

I’ll keep buying his Syrah but will pass on the experimental mission, t gris, and even Gamay.