Our first selection for this month comes from a brand new producer to us and to the state. We’ve been itching to get our hands on the glorious wines from Pax Mahle for years, and they are finally here. This estate sources fruit from Sonoma and Mendocino counties, with an emphasis on cool-climate Syrah. Indeed, they are widely considered the best source of California Syrah today. But, this is not that. It’s still summer, after all, and by the looks of the forecast, we still have a handful of ninety degree days ahead of us. As such we were ecstatic to get our hands on their glou-glou red, made from one of California’s most important but least-understood varieties–Mission.
Pax’s Mission is a single-vineyard bottling of the variety, coming from Somer’s Vineyard in Lodi. Mission was one of the first grape varieties planted in California, brought from South America by Catholic Missionaries (hence the name). In Chile, the grape is very popular and known as Pais. This particular parcel was planted in the early 1900s making for a truly-old vine Californian red. Pax ferments this red naturally with 100% whole clusters intact. It is aged in neutral oak and then concrete before being bottled with the bare minimum amount of sulphur necessary (they estimate 4 parts per million of free sulphur in bottle). The result is a bright and zippy red with fresh, tart fruit, crunchy herbal tinges, and lively acidity. It’s a noble alternative to the usual style of chillable reds that is sure to satisfy well into the fall season.