"Donelan’s 2008 Syrah Obsidian Vineyard may be a candidate for perfection. Made from 100% Syrah and 50% whole clusters, it will spend 18 months in French barrels (one-third new). Slightly different than the 2007, it offers a striking floral component intermixed with melted licorice, abundant graphite, blackberry, and black currant notes, with some earthiness and barbecue smoke notes in the background. The wine possesses terrific minerality, laser-like precision, and enormous richness as well as length. This is an amazing, opulent, huge wine that offers ethereal elegance and precision. It should evolve for 15-20 years.
The troubled departure of Pax Mahle as winemaker from this operation owned primarily by Joe Donelan has resulted in a change of name. Coinciding with the 2008s, this is now Donelan Family Wines. The reviews that follow include the 2007s, the last wines produced under the Pax Cellars moniker, with the 2008s to be released under the Donelan Family Wines. Pax Mahle now has his own up-and-coming winery called Wind Gap. One of the most interesting vineyards Donelan has used is the Obsidian Vineyard in Knight’s Valley. This vineyard’s soil resembles black marble, and the result is an extraordinary wine with characteristics that are nearly impossible to articulate.
Tel. (707) 592-0782; Fax (707) 591-0784"