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Pax Wines Sonoma Hillsides Syrah 2022

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Pax Wines Sonoma Hillsides Syrah 2022

Red Wine

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Inspired by his visits to the cellars of Jean Gonon and Raymond Trollat, 2016 was the first release of Pax Mahle’s Hillsides Syrah. The wine received a rare 100-point score from Vinous, and Antonio Galloni also recently wrote that Hillsides represents “one of the very finest wines in Northern California”.

Hillsides is a culmination of the most compelling Syrah Pax can find in a given year. The wines are identified post-fermentation, taken from wood and blended into a single concrete tank. Pax explains: “Concrete gives a very dense core of fruit. Concrete breathes but not as much as wood; it brings the wine to a really nice reductive state, which allows us to minimise our use of sulphur.”

The sites used in the Sonoma Hillsides Syrah vary each year. However, each is chosen to showcase the freshness and vibrancy that Syrah can only achieve in these cool-climate hillside slopes. The common thread across the sites is high elevation, steep rocky slopes and old vines embedded in sandy soils. In particular, the Walker Vine Hill Vineyard in the Russian River Valley invariably forms the base of this prestigious wine. Situated in a unique mesoclimate that traps cool coastal influences to allow the fruit to ripen slowly, the vines are rooted in iconic Goldridge soils (a touchstone for cool-climate Syrah in California). The remaining sites include: Castelli-Knight Ranch, bringing high-tone spice and power; the Nellessen vineyard, which provides nerve and acidity; and the Morris Ranch and Russell Ranch sites, lending depth and vibrancy to the final blend.

The product of a great season, the calibre of the fruit in ’22 was such that Pax didn’t make a Sonoma Coast Syrah despite having purchased labels. All the fruit made the cut for inclusion in Hillsides, so thankfully, there’s more to go around this year. Compared to the 2021, Pax notes this release is “pure-fruited, higher-toned and brighter”. He continues: “It’s still a dense and weighty wine but with a more European feel than the California classic 2021. All told, the 2022 Sonoma Hillsides is as umami-packed as 2016 with the plushness of 2021 and the aromas of 2018.” Like the rest of the Pax Syrah range, the Sonoma Hillsides is fermented with 100% whole clusters and foot crushed. It matures in old wood, then concrete, for 10 months.


RegionUnited States





Bottle Size 750ml



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