Saxum 2014 James Berry Vineyard (97+ pts)
The 2014 James Berry Vineyard Proprietary Red (42% Grenache, 24% Mourvèdre, 21% Syrah, 8% Counoise, 5% Roussanne) spent its first year in barrel and foudre, but then was moved to concrete tanks after the final blend was made. It's another great vintage for this wine (which should surprise no one as I've yet to see Smith put a foot wrong) and offers ample notes of spice, kirsch, darker berry fruits and savory herbs in a full-bodied, rich, mouth-coating and decadent style. As always, this wine has that rare mix of power and richness, without any weight or heaviness. The tannin quality is first rate, but it should be relatively approachable as well. - Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (97-99 Points)
Notes from the winemaker: "James Berry 2014 is going to be awesome. Many different lots picked throughout our estate vineyard made the cut. Half were aged for their first year in large foudres (the Grenache heavy lots) and the Syrah and Mourvèdre portions were brought up in 300 and 400 Liter puncheons, about 75% new. We then blended them all together and let them get to know each other in our new concrete amphoras for their last 6 months of aging. It is a wine that has a ton of richness along with an amazing spine to hold it all together. There’s an abundance of ripe red and black fruit, but it’s balanced by notes of leather and cardamon, maybe a pinch of cinnamon and sassafras. It’s definitely a wine that harkens back to James Berry of 2007-2009, with maybe a pinch of the aromatic notes of 2010 and 2011. Not for the weak of heart. Also note that the Bone Rock Syrah block gave us such meager yields that we ended up throwing it into this JBV blend, it really brings an added component, although for the first time ever, there will be no Bone Rock produced."