Winery/Vineyard: Fazeli Cellars
Product/Varietal: Red Blend — 40% Shiraz + 40% Petite Sirah + 12% Montepulciano + 8% Zinfandel
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
3.9 of 5 stars on Vivino (all vintages).
2016 Shiraz: Gold Medal & Best in Class, 2020 Citadelles du Vin.
2016 Montepulciano: Gold Medal, 2020 Citadelles du Vin.
2016 Montepulciano: 94/100, Platinum & Best Montepulciano, 2020 Sommelier Challenge.
How They Describe It
In this hectic world in which we live, it is sometimes necessary to just let go. With this thought in mind, Fazeli Cellars has expertly crafted:
40% Shiraz, 40% Petite Sirah, 12% Montepulciano, 8% Zinfandel
Dark plum and blackberry fruit accentuated by peppery spice, leather and black pepper.
Take an unrestrained step back and enjoy…
Pandemonium. Embrace the Chaos.
How I Describe It
All four of the varietals BJ Fazeli used in this blend are known for deep, dark color intensity. The Fazeli Cellars 2016 Pandemonium fits the bill perfectly, with inky-intense color concentration. The hue tends toward blood red, but you can easily tell by looking at the glass that the wine had prominent purple hues when freshly harvested. The color transition focusing on ruby is likely due to microoxygenation from four years aging in barrel and bottle.
Immediately evident on the nose are cream, blackberry, and juicy black plum flesh. Spice and oak materialize with black pepper, flint, and charcoal. These are joined by undertones of black cherry, butter, eucalyptus, and oak leaf.
On the palate, the Fazeli Cellars 2016 Pandemonium features blackberry and cassis along with black plum and blueberry. Complex layers of black pepper, bread dough, nutmeg, vanilla, and eucalyptus build underneath. There’s a slight heat from the alcohol, as well as a buttery mouthfeel from the tannins and malo. A touch of savory game appears on the finish.
This is a dry wine, with high alcohol (15.9% ABV), high tannins, and medium acid. It has an undeniably full body, with pronounced flavors, and a long, concentrated finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
A little over a year ago, in our first Fazeli Cellars review, I mentioned a wine review featuring their signature varietal, Shiraz, would be forthcoming. Finally, that day has arrived.
There’s a key takeaway we get even before opening the 2016 Pandemonium bottle: this wine was purpose-built to be deep, intense, concentrated, and fruity. All four of the varietals used — Syrah/Shiraz, Petite Sirah, Montepulciano, and Zinfandel — have big flavors, and mostly high alcohol and tannins.
Last year I also wrote that owner/winemaker BJ Fazeli has created one of the most voluminous portfolios of red blends in the Temecula Valley AVA. The 2016 Pandemonium is one of them, and it shows the strength of his collection. While the wineries creating high-quality single-varietal bottles should be applauded for their skill, Fazeli should be applauded for the artistry in his red blends (Fazeli also crafts terrific single-varietal wines).
When & How I Would Drink It
Firstly, it’s not difficult to understand why BJ Fazeli calls this wine Pandemonium. It’s bold enough to transcend chaotic life events, and pulls your focus in.
Normally, I use the bulk of this section to talk about food pairings. And while the four varietals used in the Fazeli Cellars 2016 Pandemonium are all perfectly suited for grilled or spiced red meats and vegetables, I want to focus more attention on the occasion.
Fazeli Cellars named this red blend “Pandemonium” because it was designed for experiential drinking. The alcohol, the tannins, the concentrated fruit, and the full body are suited for drinking when it’s time to “let go”, as is written on the bottle.
Stressful day at work? Did you finally put the kids to bed after a long day making sure they paid attention during their virtual classes? Do you just need to decompress with a glass of wine? That’s what the 2016 Pandemonium is made for.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $38.00 ($30.40 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 236 cases
Have you tried the Fazeli Cellars 2016 Pandemonium? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.