While we would all love to drink a bottle of Saxum–one of the most sought-after cult wines in America–reality has other ideas. If you are lucky enough to find their single-vineyard expressions, you’re paying handsomely for it (easily $150 plus). That’s why we’re so happy to offer the excellent 2016 Villa Creek High Road James Berry Vineyard.

It’s Saxum for the rest us.

Based in the limestone hills just west of Paso Robles (and just an 8 minute drive down the road from Saxum) JoAnn and Cris Cherry’s Villa Creek Cellars has been considered a top-tier producer of the Central Coast for a while now. The Cherrys moved to the area in 1996, opening an iconic restaurant (also named Villa Creek) in downtown Paso Robles. In 2001 they purchased grapes to make wine for the restaurant, and so began Villa Creek Cellars. Through the years the Cherry’s specialized on Rhone grape varieties, and the wines became better–and in more demand – with each passing year. Cut to 2017 and Paso Robles has become one of the hottest appellations in America (literally and figuratively). The demand and critical acclaim of the winery reached epic new heights which allowed the Cherrys to close the restaurant and focus purely on winemaking. As of 2019, Villa Creek is now being mentioned in the same sentence as Saxum. This isn’t by accident.

The 2016 Villa Creek High Road James Berry vineyard is sourced from Saxum’s own James Berry Vineyard. But unlike Saxum’s steep $150+ price tag, Villa Creek’s expression (which garnered an impressive 96 points) is only $69.99. Worth mentioning that the vineyard is Demeter certified biodynamic­ – the strictest and therefore most prestigious organic certification in the world. This means really intensive, serious farming (and very expensive fruit) sourced from one of the most sought-after estates in the United States…we know it sounds a bit silly to say $69.99 is a seriously good deal but, all things considered, this is a seriously good deal for what you are getting. California enthusiasts, you’re going to love this.

2016 Villa Creek High Road James Berry Vineyard

60% Syrah plus 20% each of Mourvedre and Grenache (made with 50% whole clusters) Brilliant purple. Deep-pitched cassis, cherry preserve and incense aromas are complemented by a suave floral note and a hint of five-spice powder. Rich but energetic as well, showing superb focus and spicy thrust to the densely packed dark berry liqueur and violet pastille flavors. Deftly balances richness and vivacity and betrays no rough edges. Finishes on a sexy floral note, displaying resonating dark berry character, fine-grained tannins and striking persistence. 96 Points, Vinous