Vinous Media 94
"The 2012 Syrah Armagh Vineyard is the most explosive and mineral-driven of the Wind Gap Syrahs. Vivid and chiseled in the glass, the Armagh hits the palate with an exciting mélange of graphite, smoke, tar, black fruit, iron and crushed rocks, all supported by firm, incisive tannins that are going to need time to soften. The 2012 is powerful and intense, yet impeccable in its overall balance. There is so much to like here." ~ AG
" The Armagh Vineyard is planted on a steep, rocky, southwestern facing slope in Chileno Valley, due west of the town of Petaluma. Facing directly into the Petaluma Wind Gap, this block of vines is a vital component of our Sonoma Coast Syrah bottling. Always the most brooding component, the 2012 is no exception, deep and tannic, showing the iron rich soil influence and the charm and balance of 2012. We culled five distinct barrels for this bottling. The remaining barrels went into our 2012 Sonoma Coast Syrah.
Aromas of iodine, tar, currants, leather and bittersweet chocolate dominate the nose. While totally nervy and fresh, this wine shows the breadth and density of coastal Syrah, all sinew, no fat.
138 Cases Bottled
100% Whole-Cluster, crushed by foot, natural fermentations, never racked, 18 months in all old multiple use French Oak barrels. Bottled without any clarification. " ~ Winery notes
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Wine lovers will know the name Pax Mahle from his first winery – PAX – which garnered high scores and much notoriety. Though he has always been influenced by French styles of winemaking, it was the bold, powerful Syrahs that first brought praise and attention to Pax in his new chapter as Sommelier-turned-Winemaker.
Pax was sourcing fruit from a number of different vineyards within northern California. One year, a particular vineyard had an unusually cool growing season. Fermenting the fruit in single barrels, Pax found that the wines produced from this cooler site had the alluring freshness he had always loved in French wines. He believed they were the kind of wines one could drink every night with dinner, regardless of season. Pax continued experimenting with fruit from cooler growing regions and began picking at lower sugar levels, and in the mid-2000s created the Wind Gap label as an outlet for his new direction.
According to Pax: "Wind Gap is all about classically styled wines that represent the new California."
Many of the winery's vineyards are planted along or are directly influenced by one wind gap or another. These geological breaks in the coastal hills funnel wind inland and strongly influence the growing and ripening of grapes. It seems only fitting that the name should celebrate the forces of nature that are shaping Pax's wines.
Farming Practice: Practicing Organic