Downstream is a partnership between Justin Smith of Saxum and Philippe Cambie, a consulting winemaker, primarily known for his work in the Southern Rhone. Downsteam will marry California’s Heritage varieties with Philippe’s extravagant style. The first Downstream cuvee will include James Berry Vineyard Mataro, Dusi Ranch Zinfandel, Paderewski Vineyard Zinfandel, Terry Hoage Vineyard Syrah, 4hearts Vineyard Petite Sirah and G2 Vineyard Grenache. There will only be 300 cases available. The opportunity to sign up for the Downstream mailing list opened up last week.
So what is not to like here? I signed up for the list as soon as I saw the email. They are only accepting 500 names for the mailing list so I hope I made the cut. The wine will surely receive critical acclaim from the likes of Jeb Dunnuck and Antonio Galloni. Allocations will include 3 bottles and a magnum in a boxed set.
There has been considerable speculation about how the set will be priced. I’ve seen strong support for the going rate coming in at close to $1000. Given that the first vintage is 76% Zinfandel this would set a new precedent. I can think of very few Zins that have cracked the $100 mark, most notably, Martinelli Jackass Hill. That being said an effective price of $200 a bottle would be a game changer.
Will this price in the $75 range like high end Zins including Turley Hayne and Black Sears? I doubt it. I think Downstream wants some wiggle room should future vintages contain a higher percentage of Syrah. For that reason I can support a release price of $125 per bottle. Adding in a premium for the magnum I can get to $750 for the set. If that is the case I’ll be a buyer as it sounds like the wine will be right in my wheelhouse.
I’ll be keeping an eager eye on my inbox this Fall for the official release. Are you buying and if so what is your line in the sand on the price?