Saxum Vineyards 2017 Heart Stone Vineyard, Paso Robles

Saxum Vineyards 2017 Heart Stone Vineyard, Paso Robles

Item Number: 14232

UPC: None

Country: USA
Region: California
Sub Region: Central Coast
Appellation/AVA: Paso Robles
Estate Grown Wine: No
Vineyard Designation: Heart Stone Vineyard
Vintage: 2017
Grape(s): 50% Syrah / 22% Grenache / 14% Graciano / 8% Petite Sirah / 6% Touriga Nacional
Type: Wine - Red
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Pack: 12
Closure: Cork
Alc by Vol(%): 15.6
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Soil Type: Limestone and shale
Case Production: 423

Wine Notes: The Heart Stone Vineyard is a small 7-acre vineyard planted on a gentle slope of limestone and shale that faces south. With 8 different clones of Syrah, 4 of Grenache and 1 Mourvedre, Saxum aims to produce a wine that is both compelling and complex. The varieties co-ferment together with a high proportion of whole clusters, which produces a tannic and spicy wine that has great purity and complexity. This vintage was aged in one used 3,200-liter foudre for 20+ months. The Heart Stone Vineyard wine is never racked off its lees and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.

A Note from Justin Smith: "I just adore the 2017 Heart Stone Vineyard. As many of you veterans will know, I like to have fun with this cuvée and often use it as a guinea pig if you will. The 2006 saw zero new oak and all stems. The 2011 was all aged in concrete. Well, the 2017 vintage was all aged in 1 used 3200-liter foudre. The absence of new oak really lets the fruit shine through, and the large vessel really kept the aromatics on the pure vineyard driven side of things… I’d say camphor, cherries, and a damp pine forest. The purity of fruit flavors that come through in the mouth are remarkably intriguing. Of all the 2017 wines, this is the one I’m drinking right now. In spite of all the big bruiser varieties in this blend, Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Petite Sirah, Graciano, it is a surprisingly very open, elegant wine. Go figure!"

Vintage Notes: 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. Saxum was faced with two options. The 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, Justin rolled the dice and let everything hang. Eventually the heat stopped, a portion of the crop was lost (~15%), but the remaining 85% was awesome. A lot of time was spent at 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. The tannins are incredibly soft and smooth, making them very open and approachable in their youth.

Reviews

  • The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93 (2/6/2020)

    Medium to deep ruby, it's scented of dried sour cherries, black cherries and currants with nuances of violet, orange peel, black tea leaves, underbrush and warm earth. Medium to full-bodied, it has a good balance of earth and fruit, with a grainy frame and long, layered finish.
  • Vinous
    Rating: 96 (2/4/2020)

    Powerful dark berry, cherry pie, incense, potpourri, musky herb and spicecake aromas show outstanding clarity and pick up a smoky mineral flourish with aeration. Sweet and chewy on the palate, offering deeply concentrated but energetic blackberry, cherry preserve, five-spice powder and floral pastille flavors that are given lift and spine by a core of juicy acidity. Blends richness and finesse smoothly and finishes incredibly long and spicy, with youthfully firm tannins adding shape and final grip.
  • Jeb Dunnuck
    Rating: 97 (10/31/2019)

    Showing even better from bottle than barrel, it offers a stunning nose of ripe blueberries, black raspberries, ground pepper, and violets. Full-bodied, rounded, and seamless on the palate, it has a beautiful sense of complexity and purity paired with serious depth of fruit and opulence on the palate.