- Producer: Downstream Wines - read about the Estate
- Winemakers: Justin Smith & Philippe Cambie
- Region (AVA): Paso Robles (Willow Creek District)
- Blend: 38% Zinfandel, 30% Mataro, 16% Grenache, 6% Counoise, 6% Graciano, 3% Syrah, 1% Petite Sirah
- Vintage production: 600 cases
- Winery location: Willow Creek
- Owners: Justin Smith, Philippe Cambie & Sasha Verhage
- First vintage: 2016
- Drinking window: 2021-2033+
About The Wine:
Downstream is a joint project between Justin Smith – a world-class vigneron, Philippe Cambie – a famous Rhone enologist, and Sasha Verhage – the visionary connector. It honours California's heritage by using Zinfandel, Mataro, and Petite Sirah as the core varietals. The project, wine, and sensibility bridge the best of the California Central Coast and France’s Southern Rhone. Philippe wanted his first California wine project to be with the formidable Justin Smith of Saxum. Sasha united them.
Justin is a master of craft in the winery and out in the vineyard. He is constantly pushing, exploring, and pursuing. A creative force and visionary, Justin elevated Paso Robles wines to world-class levels.
Philippe has a precise palate, encyclopedic knowledge of wine, and exquisite blending capabilities. He consults for over 80 projects world-wide. Philippe is excited to be directing his attention to the Central Coast.
As the connective tissue, Sasha loves bringing together California and France. With a passion for California wine and Rhone varietals, it was just a matter of time before these two worlds, regions, and creative forces joined.
Downstream 2018 Box Set (3 bottles & 1 magnum)
"Opaque magneta. Expansive, spice- and mineral-accented cherry and dark berry liquer, fruitcake, licourice and woodsmoke aromas are copmlemented by suggestions of cola and mocha. Vibrant, sharply focused red and blue fruit, candied lavender and exotic spice flavors show superb definition and turn deeper and sweeter as the wine opens up. Polished, finely woven tannins come in slowly on a wonderfully persistent and incisive finish that echoes the blue fruit, floral and spice notes."
98 points, Josh Reynolds (Vinous, Jul. 2022)
"Normally a Zinfandel-dominated blend with a splash of Grenache and Mourvèdre, the 2018 Downstream comes from a collaboration between two great winemakers, Justin Smith in Paso Robles and Philippe Cambie in the Southern Rhône. I've loved every vintage of this cuvée, and the 2018 is no exception, showing a more Rhône-like style in its darker berry fruits, bouquet garni, pepper, and flowery incense aromas and flavors. Where previous vintages were incredibly expressive and almost overflowing with Zinfandel character, the 2018 is more masculine and structured and benefits from plenty of air. With full-bodied richness, a polished, elegant texture, ample tannins and structure, and a blockbuster of a finish, give bottles another year or two and enjoy over the following decade or more. This will stand toe to toe with any top Châteauneuf du Pape out there."
98 points, Jeb Dunnuck (Jan. 2020)