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Open House

Tue Nov 7, 2006

At a small winery like Pax it’s not surprising that customer relationships are deeper, more personal. This past Saturday was Open House at Pax, a chance for customers to pick up and taste what’s currently available for sale and get a sneak peak at what’s to come by way of barrel samples. It’s also a great opportunity for the people who drink Pax wines to meet the people behind the wine and a chance for us to meet and better understand them.

cuvee

The set-up…

At Saturday’s Open House, visitors were treated to samplings of Cuvée Christine, Alder Springs Cuvée, a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Counoise, the last vintage of Lauterbach Hill Syrah, Pax Rousanne,”Venus”, and the Kobler Family Vineyard Syrah. Barrel samples included the 2005 Cuvée Keltie, Walker Vine Hill, Alder Springs “Terraces” and Griffin’s Lair. These wines will be released in Spring 2007.

open house

The crowd swirls…

open house

and sips…

Nearly 200 people rolled in and out of the winery, swirling and sniffing and chatting up the pourers: Ross, Ryan, Duncan and Pax. They challenged them with questions about oak and whole cluster percentages, they bought more than they came for and talked to each other excitedly. Some even raced home to post their impressions on eRobertParker. The response was unabashedly enthusiastic, with comments like:

“I also want to thank the gang at Pax – their open house parties are probably my favorite wine event of the year. They are generous, accessible…add so much to the experience and education. Despite the fact that my house is packed to the gills (along with my AMEX card), I am very happy to pay a little more than ideal to them,” wrote one Pax enthusiast, Doug Amarelo.

John Dawson’s post was a bit more detailed, with his very own tasting notes, which, if the one’s Pax wrote weren’t so elegant and well-crafted, would be candidates for the website or back-of-bottle ramblings:

“Pax Cuvee Cuvée Syrah: The piece de resistance of the tasting. This wine radiates a singular purity of fruit, freshness, and verve. Aromas of moss, autumn leaves and black cherries give way to flavors of blackberries, sappy cherries, ripe stems, and freshly tilled black soil. Spherical on the palate, this wine is ample yet graceful, showing no heaviness despite its inherent stuffing. A totally complete wine from start to finish. If Lalou Bize Leroy made syrah, this is what it would taste like. Perhaps the greatest Syrah ever made in California. (98 points)”

Pax and JD

Pax chatting with John Dawson…

An opportunity like Open House, I think, adds value to smaller production wines like Pax — lending impressions of the winemaker’s personality to the vintage and generating anticipation for wines yet to be released. It creates a bond between a winery and wine drinker that makes each bottle more special and that becomes one of the best sources of advertising anyone can hope for. We can only hope the minions that left our parking lot on Saturday, stained grins and all, continue to share their experience, and, since the wines are limited in their production, their wine, with family and friends.

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