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2010 Axis Mundi Grenache/Syrah

Axis Mundi is the center of the world, and in mythology, the connection between Heaven and Earth.

While until today I wasn’t sure of the Axis Mundi definition, I am familiar with this particular wine — although it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed it.

If anyone would name a label Axis Mundi, it would be Wes Hagen, the erudite viticulturist and winemaker behind Clos Pepe Estates. Axis is his second label.

This bright Rhone blend is 67 percent grenache and 33 percent syrah from Windmill Vineyards on Ballard Canyon Road in the brand new Ballard Canyon Road American Viticultural Area, a sub-appellation of the greater Santa Ynez Valley AVA.

Hagen keeps this blend a vivid expression of the typical grenache — full of just-ripe strawberry with the slightest hint of cherry smoked tobacco and spice.

This wine is light in color, but full of flavor. I sipped it just last night with a spicy tortilla soup and it proudly held its own. It’s definitely a food-friendly wine.

Released February 2012. Retail: $29. Neither Clos Pepe or Axis Mundi has a tasting room, but the wines are available online at www.clospepe.com and can be found at Taste of the Sta. Rita Hills in the
Lompoc Wine Ghetto