Wind Gap Wines

Owner(s) Pamela Mahle, Pax Mahle
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Wind Gap Wines

The newest project of Pamela and Pax Mahle, formerly of Pax Wine Cellars. Wind Gap Wines was founded in 2006. Grapes are sourced from vineyards throughout California, most of which are planted along or are directly influenced by one wind gap or another. These geological breaks in the coastal hills funnel wind inland and strongly influence the growing and ripening of wine grapes. The name, Wind Gap, celebrates this force of nature that shapes the wines.

Low yields, natural yeast fermentations and some whole cluster inclusion in certain varieties. Fermentation and aging is carried out in a selected combination of concrete, stainless steel, and old neutral French oak. Grapes are picked at lower brix keeping alcohols on the low to moderate side, and the wines are less extracted ("gob-less") than the Pax wines.

The lineup includes Chardonnay, Grenache, Trousseau Gris, Syrah and Pinot Noir (one from Woodruff Vineyard in Santa Cruz Mountains in 2008 and one from Gap's Crown and Griffins Lair Vineyards in Sonoma County). The wines are sold through a mailing list.

Charles Banks, former owner of Screaming Eagle, and an investment group he formed (Terroir Selections) bought a stake in Wind Gap in early 2013. The sale included a 50 percent share in Wind Gap. Pax Mahle continues to produce the wines while Terroir will handle sales and marketing. Additional vineyard sources will be sought. Mahle also plans to relaunch Pax Wine Cellars.

Reviewed Wines

2011 Wind Gap Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.4% alc., 300+ cases, $37. From Pax Mahle Wines in Forestville. · Medium garnet color in the glass. Delicate perfume of strawberry, cherry, red licorice and conifer. Lean and angular, featuring cherry and cranberry fruit with a green thread running through, finishing with a very tart, cherry skin finish. The fruit doesn’t seem ripe and the biting acidity is out of balance. Score: 84. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Wind Gap Gap’s Crown and Griffin’s Lair Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 314 cases, $29. From Pax Mahle Wines. Hand-numbered bottles. · Shy scent of black cherries with generous oakdriven aromas of spice, smoke and mocha java. Dark-fruited with plenty of smoky oak, coffee and tar in the background. Somewhat better when re-tasted later in the day with some reduced oak influence but the fruit in this wine still plays second-fiddle to the oak. May show better oak integration with a year or two in the cellar. Decent. Reviewed March 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Wind Gap “Yuen” James Berry & Brosseau Vineyards Central Coast Chardonnay

12.9% alc., pH 3.36, 525 cases, $35. Released April 2011. A new venture from Pam and Pax Mahle. Wente clone (33+ years at Brosseau Vineyard and 45+ years at James Berry Vineyard). 60% fermented with natural yeasts in concrete egg-shaped tanks with remaining 40% whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel. MLF in multiple use French oak barrels. · Very light straw color in the glass. A delicate, lean wine offering scents and flavors of citrus fruits, pear and papaya. A Rhone-style white wine with bright acidity and no oak influence that is simple. Will work as an aperitif. Decent. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »

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