Pášxa is a new project from The Walls founder Mike Martin and winemaker Todd Alexander (Force Majeure, Holocene, Beatus, etc.). It bears the name of a Native American term for the area “Pášxapa,” or “Place of the Sunflowers,” from when the area was filled with a wild balsamroot sunflower—one of which adorns the label. Pášxa was founded to explore mostly Rocks vineyard sources and its nuances, despite the fact that this is a place not really thought of as “nuanced.” Still, Alexander finds compelling variations within the basaltic jumble of river cobble, amounting to varying degrees of aromatic funk (Rocks fruit is known for its funk) but also fruit purity and textural polish. For the grenache he uses large neutral vessels so as not to get in the way of these variations. This fruit, from River Rock Vineyard, leads with aromas of tar, red currant and beetroot, bright and deeply flavored at once. Despite sumptuous fruit, its texture feels firm and chiseled, lithe with a dusty earthbound tension. Much going on, it’s some years from its peak. Cellar.
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