- Producer: Saxum Vineyards - read about the Estate
- Winemaker: Justin Smith
- Region (AVA): Paso Robles (Willow Creek District)
- Blend: 58% Grenache, 20% Mataro, 11% Tannat, 8% Graciano, 3% Syrah
- Vintage production: 868
- Winery location: Willow Creek
- First vintage: 2014
- Drinking window: 2020-2032
About The Wine:
Beginning with the 2014 vintage, Saxum brought a new vineyard into the fold. The G2 vineyard is only half a mile from the estate, directly to the South West. Justin's friend friend Bill Gibbs (of Heart Stone fame) purchased the property with 40 acres already planted to Grenache, Mataro, Syrah, Tannat, and Zinfandel. Jsutin locked down his favorite blocks, an amazing 5 acre South slope planted to Mataro and Grenache. These blocks are extremely rocky and steep, a twin of the Syrah block at Booker Vineyard, with a vertical rise of 200 feet in a single row! His hunches were right and the fruit off these blocks are mind blowing. Since 2014 they have planted 8 more blocks; 2 North facing Grenache blocks, 2 big south slopes with head trained Graciano, a North face Syrah block, and some blocks of Carignane and Cinsault. Justin plans to keep the blend Grenache and Mataro dominant but want to bring in these supporting characters for a little extra complexity.
NOTES FROM JUSTIN: I feel this G2 Vineyard is the best to date, slightly edging out the classic 2016 version. Compared to the JBV it has a much darker brooding nose, in no small part due to the use of Tannat and Graciano as components. More black fruit, smoke, and a touch of a floral element, maybe rose? The palate just explodes with dark fruits and soft round tannins that go on forever. This wine saw a good amount of new French oak, 87%, but mostly large 500L puncheons, so the oak impact is barely noticeable. This wine rocks. Buy it, drink it.
During the 2017 growing season California was served an impressive heat wave that arrived at the wrong time, when the fruit was getting close, but definitely not there yet. We were faced with two options. Our first option was to pick the fruit that was starting to shrivel from the heat. Fruit with numbers saying the sugars were getting too high, acids were too strong, and tannins were too green. The second option was to let it ride. However, you can’t predict the weather and could potentially loose the whole crop. A huge gamble. Well, we rolled the dice and let everything hang. Then we proceeded to bite our nails and watch the weather. Eventually the heat stopped and we ended up losing a portion of our crop, maybe 15%, but the remaining 85% was awesome. We had to spend a lot of time on the sorting table removing the damaged portions of the clusters, but it was all worthwhile. The wines are delicious! The 2017s definitely have a riper aromatic than the 2016s, but I rather enjoy that. The tannins are incredibly soft and smooth, making them very open and approachable in their youth. I like to think that the 2016s will ultimately be the better wines, but for the first 5, maybe 8 years of their lives, the 2017s might bring more pleasure, and bringing pleasure is what this is all about!!!
Saxum Vineyards G2 Vineyard 2017
"A Grenache-dominated blend that includes 11% Tannat, 9% Graciano and 3% Syrah, the 2017 G2 Vineyard reminds me of a great vintage of Raymond Usseglio’s Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée Imperiale. Flirting with perfection and one of the greatest Rhône blends I’ve tasted from California, it offers a smorgasbord of sweet black and blue fruits, crushed violets, flowery incense, and pepper. With full-bodied richness, no hard edges, perfectly integrated acidity, and silky tannins, drink this magical wine any time over the coming 10-15 years."
99 points, Jeb Dunnuck (Nov. 2018)