It feels like this wine was a long time coming! Well, it actually was since it spent an extra year in barrel. Let me properly introduce this new cuvée. Hexe can have two meanings, to perform magic or, simply, a witch. I like them both when applied to this wine. It is a multi-vineyard cuvée that is built around Grenache. Not just any old Grenache. We are selecting our blackest, most wicked Grenaches, the ones that we know will benefit from 33 months aging in various large puncheons or concrete amphora. The heart of this cuvée is the oldest block at
James Berry Vineyard, a South facing hilltop Grenache block that was planted in 1980.Vines my parents planted when I was a kid. Around this lot we like to weave in some of the most intense Grenache and Mataro blocks from G2 Vineyard, along with a bit of Petite Sirah from Paderewski Vineyard. It is the dark side of Grenache. I am super happy with how it came out. A textural wine, caressing and smooth, but with those incredible aromatics you only get from Grenache. Lifted red and black fruits and some beautiful spice notes from the barrels. Black magic.
The 2016 Hexe is a new cuvée from Saxum, built around Smith's darker, burlier Grenache lots (predominantly from older, head-trained vines on the south-facing slope of the James Berry vineyard). The wine will receive extended élevage-so in a sense, it represents the obverse of the more ethereal, fragrant Rocket Block and the Grenache analogue of the Syrah-based Broken Stones. The nose offers up aromas of sweet spices, ripe cherries, blackberries, licorice and asphalt, followed by a full-bodied, richly tannic wine with a chewy, firm finish. This is going to need its prolonged stay in barrel to resolve those tannins, but it's very promising indeed. It's a blend of 56% Grenache, 13% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah, 9% Mataro, 7% Graciano and 5% Tempranillo.