Size & Type
After years as a sommelier and wine buyer on the east coast of the USA, in 1997 Pax and his wife Pam moved to California, where he would take the coveted role as Corporate Wine Buyer with prestigious epicurean purveyor, Dean & DeLuca. Required for this role was a deep understanding of Californian wine, a topic Pax freely admits to knowing close to nothing about at the time—his expertise and personal drinking preferences were decidedly Eurocentric. Long story short, his prospecting led him to the North Coast of California, where he fell hard for the cool freshness of Syrah from the region. These were the kind of wines that bore resemblance to his favourite wines from the Northern Rhône.
Stunned by the region’s untapped potential, in 2000, Mahle realized he needed to be on the frontlines of winemaking rather than behind the scenes. Drawing on his many visits to the Northern Rhône, Pax aspired to make the kind of wines his heroes would be proud of. To this end, the cool and foggy AVAs of the Sonoma Coast provided the perfect combination of terroir and grape. The soulful wines of Raymond Trollat and Pierre Gonon served as significant influences, and the experiences tasting in the cellars of these great producers stand as some of Pax’s most cherished. As an ex-master sommelier student, he delightfully quips that he tries to return to the Rhône Valley each year to “relearn the things that are correct and unlearn the things I’ve always been told”.
As one of our Californian friends put it, if there’s something Pax doesn’t know on the topic, it’s not worth knowing—25 years honing his craft, spanning the length and breadth of Sonoma County has served him well. And although he exudes the kind of confidence derived from expertise, he remains a portrait of self-effacement, attributing his success and the universal acclaim for his wines to his sites rather than himself. Full of tone and sinew, these wines not only express a purity of fruit and expression of place seldom encountered, but they are also impressively structured and incredibly balanced.
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Shiraz/Syrah | Sonoma County, America