Chenin Blanc, Pax Wines 'Lyman Ranch'
Pax and Pam Mahle moved to California in 1997 to pursue careers in wine, and after a few years of tasting and sourcing wine from all over the state for Dean & Deluca, Pax realized he needed to be on the frontlines of winemaking rather than behind the scenes, and made the decision to start his own brand in 2000. The Mahles made the bold choice of favoring the “untapped potential” of the Syrah grape at that time. Initially known for his rich and powerful expressions of Syrah that put him on the map, Pax’s style took a major turn to fresher, lower alcohol profiles as he began working with new vineyard sources in cooler, coastal areas of Sonoma. His wines today are balanced and elegant, with a nod to the Old World.
Pax’s all-star lineup includes vineyards such as Alder Springs, Castelli-Knight Ranch and Griffin’s Lair for his Syrahs, and recently the brand has evolved to include new and exciting varieties such as Chenin Blanc, Gamay, Mission and Carignan. The Trousseau Gris that we know and love from his former brand Wind Gap is also being bottled under the Pax label as well as some of the other vineyard sources from that project. He is no longer making Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
Pax believes that “great wines can only be made from great vineyards”, which guides their highly selective decision-making process in choosing sites that are farmed sustainably by dedicated growers that will produce healthy grapes with balanced acids and sugars. All wines are crushed by foot and hand, and fermented using only natural yeasts. Their goal is to produce wines with as little intervention as possible.
Grown in red granitic soils at 1400’ within Amador County, this warm mountainous site grows a unique expression of Chenin Blanc. The ferrous soils and exposure ripen these thick-skinned golden grapes quickly and with loads of tropical fruit. The cold foothill nights help the grapes retain their acidity and freshness and we pick early to balance the tropical fruit flavors with all that fresh alpine acidity.
Mirabelle plums, lemon grass, green apple candy and peach pit. The palate is loaded with minerals and concentrated stone fruit flavors and ripe bosch pear. Long and polished, this is modern Chenin Blanc, gravelly and intense but with a streak of ripe fruit to hold it all together. Absolutely gorgeous now, but surely to improve in the bottle for another 3-5 years as well.
13% Alcohol. 100% whole cluster pressed. Fermented in Stainless Steel, new Austrian Oak and neutral French Oak barrels. Aged in 70% neutral French Oak Barrels for 10 months. Aged in 30% new Austrian Oak Barrels [Stockinger] for 10 months.