Wind Gap Syrah 2008

Wind Gap is the latest project from Pam and Pax Mahle. It is all about making authentic and compelling wines from specific windy sites, particularly sites that are influenced by a ‘wind gap’. Wind Gaps are geological breaks in the coastal hills, which have the effect of funnelling the wind inland and boosting the growing and ripening of the grapes. Pam and Pax were previously involved in the Sonoma based winery Pax Wines, and quickly gained a reputation for making outstanding single-vineyard Syrahs. After a disagreement with their business partner they went their separate ways. Joe Donelan retained Pax Wines, and Pam and Pax starting Wind Gap.

Wind Gap’s vineyards are on the Sonoma Coast, which has recently become popular in California, with winemakers searching for the coolest plots of land. This is done either by choosing to plant vines at altitude, or by planting them close to the sea – Sonoma coast combines both altitude and proximity to the sea.

At Wind Gap they aren’t just proud of their wines, they also like to make a point of mentioning their green initiatives in the winery. This includes sourcing all packaging locally, and as you can see from the photo, no longer using a capsule – this is in order to reduce their carbon footprint. However, it has the added advantage of letting the customers see the condition of the cork sealing the bottle.

Tasting Note Flower DayFlower Day
This is the third vintage of Wind Gap Syrah and was the coolest of the three. The fruit is 100% Syrah and comes from two distinct Sonoma Coast vineyards: 35% Clary Ranch, Chileno Valley and 45% Nellessen Vineyard, Green Valley.

The nose of the Wind Gap Syrah is intense with rich, almost jammy black fruit notes, and hints of spice. The palate is incredible: brimming with cherry notes, black pepper, and tart blackberries. Unlike the nose initially suggests, this wine has a lovely elegance and a gorgeous stony minerality. The alcohol is completely integrated and the tannins are soft and round, with the intense fruit flavours being refreshed by the crisp acidity. This Syrah has an amazingly long and complex finish, it tastes more like a wine from the Northern Rhone than a typical Californian Syrah.

June 2011

Wind Gap Syrah 2008
Country: USA
Region: Sonoma Coast, California
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 14.5%
Grape Variety:
Where To Buy:
Harrods, Vineyard Cellars, Wine-Searcher
Tags: Wine of the Week, USA, California, Pax Mahle, Syrah, Wind Gap, Red Wine