96pts Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Terry Hoage Vineyard is a prettier, more complex wine and has lots of raspberries, blackberries, and blood orange notes to go with a medium to full-bodied, elegant profile on the palate. It was slightly more open and sexy prior to bottling, and I expect it will show more opulence with 2-3 years of bottle age. Saxum’s Justin Smith has hit a home run with these recent vintages, and his 2015s, 2016s, 2017s, and 2018s all have singular styles, with the quality remaining sky-high. The 2018s show the slightly more pure, fresh, yet concentrated style of the vintage nicely. While not yet bottled, these will offer pleasure in their youth as well as benefit from short term cellaring. The 2017s are more pretty, perfumed wines that don’t quite have the density of the 2016s yet certainly don’t lack for fruit. Most are already drinking nicely today, yet as with all great wines, they’re going to evolve gracefully. Lastly, the 2016s are some of the greatest wines I’ve tasted from this estate, and they offer massive, layered, yet impeccably balanced profiles that are a joy to drink today; they’ll also be a joy to drink in 10-15 years as well. As I’ve written more than once, there are few mailing lists worth being one, but without a doubt, this is one of them.
92pts Wine Spectator
Plump, vibrant and supple, with multilayered raspberry, peppery bacon fat and crushed stone accents that build structure toward polished tannins. Grenache and Syrah. Since the brand's first vintage in 2000, Saxum has set the standard for Rhône-style reds in California, with numerous appearances on Wine Spectator's Top 100 list, including the No. 1 spot in 2010 with the Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles 2007.
59% Grenache, 41% Syrah. I always have a soft spot for our Terry Hoage Vineyard. It is almost always the most approachable in our line up. A wine that you can enjoy while letting the others rest a bit. There’s great spice from the Syrah but luscious red fruit from the Grenache. My favorite part might be the core of salinity that it displays. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a tasty descriptor, but I ?nd it fascinating and it begs you to take another sip to try and ?gure out where that vein is coming from.