Jeb Dunnuck, 97 points
"Slightly deeper colored, the 2016 James Berry Vineyard checks in as 64% Grenache, 21% Syrah, 11% Mourvèdre, and 4% Roussanne that was 75% destemmed and spent 19 months in a new Atelier 350-liter barrels and a neutral 300-liter barrel. Unfortunately, there’s not much to go around, but this is a magical wine that offers a fabulous perfume of spring flowers, black raspberries, ground pepper, and crushed rocks. Deep, layered, multi-dimensional, and with awesome purity of fruit, it’s one of the finest wines yet from this estate and readers should jump at the chance to latch onto a bottle or two."
Vinous, 95 points
"Lurid violet. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes ripe black and blue fruits, potpourri, five-spice powder, olive and cola, along with smoky mineral and exotic spice topnotes. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering deeply concentrated yet surprisingly energetic boysenberry, cassis, licorice candy and spicecake flavors that pick up a sexy floral element on the back half. The strikingly long, floral-driven finish shows superb delineation and fine-grained, late-arriving tannins."
Wine Enthusiast, 93 points
"Violets, lilacs, ripe alpine strawberries and intense purple fruits are packed in wet clay aromas on the nose of this blend of 64% Grenache, 21% Syrah, 11% Mourvèdre and 4% Roussanne. Strong acid and chalky tannins hold flavors of roasted boysenberry and violet on the palate, which will last for years. Drink 2020–2031."
"Mark Adams was raised on a ranch in West Templeton in the Paso Robles Willow Creek District AVA. He and his family raised livestock and grew rotating crops on the 40 acre property which his parents purchased in the 70s. The family grew up with many pioneering grape farmers in the area, especially the Dusi and Smith families. Terry and Pebble Smith planted the James Berry Vineyard with their son Justin in the 80s. Adams became childhood friends with Justin and they remained close throughout their college years. When Smith was finishing up at Cal Poly, Adams was starting at Chico State. They stayed in touch and Smith exposed Adams to the earliest incarnations of homemade JBV red wines. As James Berry Vineyard grapes became more famous, Adams was hip to their growth, from the earliest Wild Horse JBV wines to Smith's development as a vigneron. These experiences were the beginning of a life-long love affair with Rhône varietals and the Paso Robles wine growing region.
As a musician and cinema student in college, Adams went on to write original music and edit sound for film and television, ultimately landing at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California. He toured with several music groups and was consistently in restaurants and bars, further exposing him to the world of wine. The film industry took him to the south of France, where he was exposed to the wonderful wines of the Rhône on repeated visits to the Cannes film festival. Musical tours of Europe enlightened Adams to the fact that many Europeans made small batches of wine for personal consumption in their homes. Through all of this, his heart was never far from Templeton, and a seed was planted to grow wine grapes on the family property. He visited home regularly hoping to find an opportunity to return and farm the property again. That opportunity began to present itself in the early 2000’s when Saxum was taking flight. Adams was the first employee for Justin Smith at Saxum and soon after planted 4 acres of own rooted Estrella Clone Syrah on the Adams Ranch. These vines were all propagated from cuttings off the Bone Rock terraces at James Berry Vineyard."