We were delighted to be presenting one of the most exciting new wines in the World, Downstream Wines, from two contemporary legends: Saxum Vineyards owner/winemaker Justin Smith, and revered French oenologist Philippe Cambie, most famous for his work at Clos Saint Jean in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
They were bought together my their mutual friend, the visionary Sasha Verhage, who told Justin that Philippe wanted to work with him based around Zinfandel, not repeating his work in the Rhône. Together, they tracked down some amazing fruit from the famed Dusi Vineyard, which was first planted in 1945.Once the individual lots have completed their malolactic fermentation, usually in the Spring after harvest, Philippe puts the final blend together. The resulting wine was described by leading critic Jeb Dunnuck as having "Ineffable beauty". If the young Downstream wines have a hallmark, it’s their structural integrity, generosity of fruit and a pronounced saline signature.
When asked about the Downstream name, Justin says, “We’d been thinking about what to call it for forever, but nothing was sticking. And then I had a dream: I was driving down the 101, past Atascadero, about to get off the freeway to go to In-N-Out Burger, and it hit me.” In his dream, he exclaimed: “Downstream! We’re going to call it Downstream! I can’t wait to call Sasha and tell him that I found the perfect name: Downstream!” When he woke up, he felt it was the perfect name. And though he says the name didn’t hold a lot of meaning immediately after the dream, Smith now sees parallels between the name and his creative intentions. Smith’s portions of the proceeds from Downstream will be donated entirely to local charities. “I’ll be sending that money downstream,” he says.
This is a California Legend int he making, and is already one of the most exclusive and sought after wines of Central California. With barely a few hundred cases to be produced each vintage, it's well on the way to being a serious collector's item too!
The stunning artwork for the Downstream label was designed by local Spanish and art teacher, Joe Kalionzes.
Between Justin and Philippe, there is a combined 20 x 100 point scores for the wines they have made or consulted on!