Blend: 60% Zinfandel, 15% Mourvèdre, 9% Grenache, 7% Petite Sirah, 6% Syrah, 2% Tannat, 1% Viognier
Production: 560 cases
Founded in 2016, Downstream Wines is the collective brainchild of Saxum Vineyards owner and winemaker Justin Smith, the late-great oenologist Philippe Cambie, and their mutual friend, the visionary Sasha Verhage. Together, they crafted a wine that will be remembered forever as watershed moment in Paso Robles, and California as a whole.
When it comes to pushing the boundaries of greatness, their jaw-dropping Downstream is a magical wine. In the running as the greatest expression of Zinfandel ever produced, it’s a peerless example of Cambie’s unrivalled blending skills and Smith’s rockstar winemaking. It also carries a real poignance as to honour the legacy of Cambie, following his passing in 2021, production was ended.
Cambie’s work in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is legendary, none more so than his multiple 100-point scores at Clos St. Jean. He had long desired to work with Justin in Paso Robles, focusing on ‘heritage’ Zinfandel. They chose the old vines of the Dusi Vineyard, planted in 1945, complimenting them with a carefully selected blend of varietals from sites including Saxum’s own James Berry Vineyard.
The result is a taste and style that can only come from California: rich, intense, hedonistic, with an underlying elegance and energy. It’s indicative of the forward thinking and ground breaking approach that’s at its strongest in Paso Robles.
Downstream is already a highly desirable and ultra-rare gem, and will be a treasured prize among collectors of California’s finest wines who are lucky enough to find some.