2017 Pax "Hillsides" Syrah, Sonoma County
Without a doubt, Pax is at the vanguard of the new wave of American producers looking to make refreshing, complex wines from often-times overlooked grapes from amazing cool-climate sites. For me, Pax Mahle is the reference point for what is possible in American-made Syrah, crafting his wines as an homage to both the Northern Rhone (the spiritual home of the grape) and the undeniable California sunshine.
The 2017 Armagh was the only single vineyard wine that Pax decided to release in that vintage. It was made an an homage to the wines of Cornas and shows an intense kalamata olive brine note in the nose, with blackberry juiciness in the palate that just screams for bbq.