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Pharoah Moans

Reviews & Press

Paso Robles Vineyard

2018 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

2018 SYRAH - 98 POINTS
"Lots of spice plums, orange blossoms, spring flowers, peach (I'd swear there was Viognier in this blend) and peppery notes emerge from the 2018 Syrah. An exotic, full-bodied, seamless Syrah with ripe yet pleasant tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish, it's truly brilliant and the finest I've tasted from this estate. All Syrah from a mix of sites on the westside of Paso Robles, brought up in 60% new oak, it's going to keep 10-15 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck, September 2020

2018 Syrah - 95 POINTS
"Opaque purple. Hugely perfumed aromas of blackberry, blueberry, exotic spices, vanilla and violet show superb definition and spicy lift. Stains the palate with pliant, alluring sweet dark berry preserve, floral pastille and fruitcake flavors that pick up mocha, vanilla and five-spice powder nuances as the wine opens up. Finishes extremely long and smooth, with velvety tannins, resonating florality and striking energy for its heft and power."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, December 2020

2018 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Grenache

"Gorgeous blueberry and blackberry fruits, as well as lots of blood orange, spring flowers, and white pepper notes all emerge from the 2018 Grenache. It's a beautiful Rhône blend from Paso Robles that has full-bodied richness, an incredible sense of purity and elegance, and a great finish. It's beautifully done and a gorgeous wine any way you look at it."
- Jeb Dunnuck, September 2020

"Bright ruby-red. Expressive, spice-accented raspberry, boysenberry and cherry preserve aromas are complicated by building lavender and Asian spice nuances. Seamless, deep and appealing sweet, offering palate-staining red/blue fruit liqueur, spice-cake and floral pastille flavors underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Manages to be both rich and lively and shows no excess fat. Finishes smooth and impressively long, displaying polished, even tannins and persistent florality."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, December 2020

2017 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

2017 SYRAH - 97 POINTS
"All Syrah brought up in 60% new barrels, the 2017 Syrah Westside offers a thrilling bouquet of black (and some blue) fruits, bay leaf, bacon fat, chocolate, and spring flowers. With a Côte-Rôtie like meatiness and gamey, floral character, medium to full body, no hard edges, and fine tannins, it's another remarkable effort from this estate. Drink it any time over the coming decade or more."
- Jeb Dunnuck, November 2019

2017 SYRAH - 94 POINTS
"Inky violet. Deep-pitched black and blue fruit aromas pick up suggestions of olive, dark chocolate and exotic spices with air. Broad, densely packed and youthfully chewy, offering palate-staining cassis, bitter cherry, licorice and fruitcake flavors that are extremely slow to unfold. Solid tannins add framework to a very long, smoke-tinged finish that emphatically echoes the dark fruit and olive notes. Show this one some patience."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, February 2020

2017 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Grenache

"These Pharaoh Moans releases are made by the incredibly talented Guillaume Fabre. Medium ruby-colored and semi-opaque, the 100% varietal 2017 Grenache is brilliant, ranking with the finest I've tasted to date from this estate. Beautiful kirsch, blackberries, ground herbs, flowers, and savory spice notes all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, powerful yet graceful Grenache that has fine tannins, beautiful balance, no hard edges, and a great finish. It has richness as well as elegance and will cruise for over a decade."
- Jeb Dunnuck, November 2019

"Deep shimmering ruby-red. Ripe, mineral- and spiced tinged red fruits and candied flowers on the highly perfumed nose. Juicy and precise in the mouth, displaying bright, spicy lift to the concentrated raspberry preserve, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors, which steadily turn sweeter as the wine opens up. Shows a sexy lavender pastille quality on the strikingly long, sappy finish, which is framed by velvety, slow-building tannins. In quite a graceful style for its power, with the balance to age gracefully."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, February 2020

2016 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

- Jeb Dunnuck, December 2018

"Brilliant purple. Blackberry, cola, exotic spices and potpourri on the deeply perfumed nose. Intense black and blue fruit and spicecake flavors are complicated by suggestions of candied violet and cracked pepper. Finishes impressively long and alluringly sweet, featuring slow-building tannins and lingering blue fruit and floral character."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, September 2018

2016 SYRAH, 92-94 POINTS
"A tighter and more focused red in this 2016. A fine, linear line of tannins to the dark fruit and chocolate. Medium body and a flavorful finish. Drink now."
- James Suckling, June 2018

"Tasted from barrel, the 2016 Syrah (which is 100% Syrah this year) exhibits aromas of minty blackberries, bay leaf and tapenade, framed by a touch of toasty new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied, richly tannic and a bit more taut and compact than the Grenache, with a tight-knit core of crunchy dark fruit. It'll be interesting to taste it from bottle."
- William Kelley, Wine Advocate, May 2018

2016 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Grenache

- Jeb Dunnuck, December 2018

"Brilliant red. Heady, intensely perfumed aromas of red fruit preserves, incense and potpourri, lifted by a spicy pepper nuance. Stains the palate with deeply concentrated yet lithe, spice-laced Chambord and cherry cola flavors; mineral and lavender pastille notes build in the glass. Shows outstanding tension and focus on the subtly tannic finish, which emphatically repeats the floral and spice notes. There's something eerily Pinot Noir-like going on here."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, September 2018

"Floral and cherries with hints of sandalwood and strawberries. Medium-bodied, linear and refined. Shows that Paso can make the real deal with Grenache. Drink now."
-James Suckling, June 2018

"Tasted from barrel, the 2016 Grenache (which was fermented with 5% to 10% stems) reveals lovely aromas of sweet red berries, dried flowers and white pepper. On the palate, it's full-bodied, expansive and youthfully chewy, with a ripe core of sweet fruit and a firm, spicy finish."
-William Kelley, Wine Advocate, May 2018

2015 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

2015 SYRAH, 94-95 POINTS
"Saturated ruby. A powerfully scented, complex bouquet evokes ripe boysenberry, cherry preserves, five-spice powder and candied flowers. Stains the palate with sweet black and blue fruit, spicecake and violet pastille flavors that show impressive delicacy for their heft. Smooth tannins frame a broad, smoke-tinged finish that hangs on with excellent, floral-dominated persistence. This big boy checks in at a robust 15.9% alcohol but doesn't come off hot or even warm."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, November 2017

2015 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Grenache

"Deep ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red berries, cherry, potpourri and peppery spices, and a suggestion of incense adds an exotic twist. Stains the palate with sappy black raspberry and cherry cola flavors that are given a spicy edge by a late jolt of white pepper. Conveys a suave combination of richness and energy and closes on a spicy note, delivering impressive focus, harmonious tannins and strong persistence."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, November 2017

2014 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"So balanced and refined with a blackberry and mineral character. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a polished and beautiful finish. Drink now."
- James Suckling, December 2016

"Playing in the same style as the Grenache, the 2014 Syrah is a full-bodied fruit bomb that offers a sexy, hedonistic, pedal to the metal style. Coming from the Hawk Hill, Jada and Hearhill vineyards (all limestone soils) and aged 18 months in 65% new oak, its inky color is followed by a full-bodied, decadent, soft red that's loaded with notions of creme de cassis, licorice, caramelized meats and smoked herbs. It shows the richness of the vintage beautifully and will drink well through 2024."
- eRobertParker, August 2016

2014 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Grenache

"A very fine-textured grenache with dried strawberries and spices. Medium-bodied, polished and sexy. Delightful wine. Only 85 cases made."
- James Suckling, December 2016

"The 2014 Grenache is a beautiful, ripe and full-bodied wine that has the standard seamless texture that's the hallmark of all of winemaker Guillaume Fabre's wines. Made from 100% Grenache that saw just a touch of whole cluster and 18 months in neutral oak, this beauty's vibrant purple color is followed by notes of kirsch, blackberries, ground herbs, graphite and toasted spice. These give way to a sexy, polished Grenache that has terrific concentration, impressive purity of fruit and ripe, sweet tannin. It's already hard to resist, and I see no need to hold off either."
- eRobertParker, August 2016

2013 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"A sensational barrels sample from winemaker Guillaume Fabre, the 2013 Syrah (there's 2% Grenache in the blend) exhibits a killer nose of creme de cassis, white chocolate, melted licorice and sweet spice to go with a decadent, concentrated and voluptuous style on the palate. Despite its wealth of fruit and texture, it never seems over the top, stays lively and balanced and has a great finish. If you're craving lightweight aromas and flavors, look elsewhere."
-, August 2015


2012 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"The brilliant 2012 PharaohMoans is a blend of 98% Syrah and 2% Grenache that was aged in 80% new French oak barrels prior to bottling. A big, rich and fleshy Paso red, it knocks it out of the park with its chocolatey dark fruits, pepper, olive and charred meat-like aromas and flavors. This isn't for those craving delicacy, yet it stays clean and classy, with full-bodied richness, thrilling amounts of texture and a seamless, focused finish. There's not a track record here with regards to aging, yet this should be better in another year and have at least a decade of prime drinking."
- Wine Advocate, August 2014


2012 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Grenache

"Aged 17 months in neutral barrels, the 2012 Grenache exhibits pretty notes of camphor, kirsch, dried cherries and balsam to go with a full-bodied, supple, sexy and forward style on the palate that's about as easy drinking as they come. Drink this total charmer over the coming 5-7 years."
-, August 2015

"Pure, ripe and refreshing, with graceful, snappy raspberry, black cherry and black licorice flavors, ending with touches of dried herb and anise. Drink now through 2024."
- James Laube, Wine Spectator, December 2014


2011 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"A gorgeous effort that's made from 92% Syrah and 8% Grenache, all from Westside Vineyards and aged 16 months in 80% new oak, the 2011 PharaohMoans dishes out knockout black raspberry, roasted meats, chocolate and spice-driven aromatics. This full-bodied, decadent and dense effort stays focused and classy with big structure and a great mid-palate. Already approachable due to the wealth of material, it nevertheless has the balance and depth to evolve for over a decade. Drink now-2021. If you're in the mood for a full-bodied, gorgeously textured Syrah, few do it better."
- Wine Advocate, August 2013

"Dark purple. A wild, highly perfumed bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, violet, cola and smoky Indian spices. Sappy, concentrated boysenberry and cherry-vanilla flavors are complemented by notes of licorice and mocha and a hint of candied flowers. Really stains the palate, finishing smooth, spicy and long, with fully absorbed tannins.
- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, November/December 2013

"Velvety smooth with ripe blackberry, boysenberry and vanilla oak; intense with notes of sweet chocolate, Christmas spice and toasted chestnuts; seamless and elegant with a long, lush finish."
- Anthony Dias Blue, Tasting Panel, September 2013

"Dark, plush and layered, the 2011 Syrah shows a little more complexity than the 2010. Cinnamon, cloves and flowers add lovely nuance to this racy, intense wine. I very much like the sense of energy here. It will be interesting to see the direction future vintages take. The 2011 is 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache."
- Antonio Galloni, July 2013


2010 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"Along the same lines, the 2010 Westside (same blend as the 2011 yet with a touch less new oak) is slightly richer and more plush, with notions of cassis, black raspberry, tobacco smoke and chocolate giving way to a full-bodied, decadent Syrah that has silky tannin and no hard edges. Enjoy it through 2018. Drink now-2018."
- Wine Advocate, August 2013

"The 2010 Syrah boasts serious depth and power. A big, large-scaled wine, the 2010 fleshes out in the glass nicely. Black fruit, menthol and spices meld into crushed rocks and leather. The style is very ripe, but there appears to be good potential for this project moving forward. In 2010 the blend is 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache."
- Antonio Galloni, July 2013

"Delivers a firm, vibrant mix of roasted coffee, dark and dried berry, mineral, cedar, pencil lead and dried licorice. An intriguing mix of flavors. Syrah and Grenache. Drink now through 2024."
- J.L., Wine Spectator, December 31, 2012

TOP 100 WINES - RobbReport's Holiday Host's Guide
"Though its name is tongue-in-cheek, this blend of Syrah and Grenache is a true treat for the taste buds, evoking notes of concentrated blackberry, espresso, and smoked meat."
- Brett Anderson, "Winter Vintages: Our 100 favorite wines for the season", RobbReport Holiday 2012 Host's Guide


2009 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"A wine with balance and personality with spice and chocolate and meat. Full and rich with plenty of fruit and a flavorful finish. Plenty going on in the glass here. Buy it. John Schwartz, owner of Amuse Bouche Winery in Napa Valley, and Chef Bryan Ogden. Delicious now."
- James Suckling, November 2011

"If you know the Rhône-style wines of Saxum, which is probably Paso Robles' most expensive wine, this is nearly identical. Mostly Syrah, with 8% Grenache, the wine is decadently rich in milk chocolate, blackberry jam and sweet, smoky oak flavors. It's very high in alcohol, but unless you're an extremist in this regard, you can't help but be knocked out by the wine's sensuous pleasures."
- S.H., Wine Enthusiast Magazine, November 2011


2008 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"Inky purple. Youthful, primary aromas of dark berry and cherry compote, smoky oak spices, cola and olive, with mounting spiciness. Full-bodied but surprisingly light on its feet, offering mineral-accented dark berry preserve flavors and exotic floral and fruitcake qualities. Dusty tannins add grip to a sweet and very long finish. This is a baby but shows real promise."
- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Nov/Dec 2010


2007 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"Ripe blackberry and wild berry fruit is intense, focused and plush, with plum, black licorice and spice flavors folding in, giving this added depth and complexity. The finish is long and plush. Syrah and Grenache. Drink now through 2013. 300 cases made."
- J.L., Wine Spectator, April 20, 2009

"This Rhône blend from the fashionable west side of Paso Robles is made in the modern cult style. It's very dark in color, full-bodied and glyceriney in the mouth, and delivers a thermonuclear blast of fruit and oak. Among the flavors are roasted blackberries, cassis, melted milk chocolate, anise, cotton candy, vanilla custard, crème brûlée and cinnamon spice. Not exacty your classically dry table wine. Drink now."
- S.H., Wine Enthusiast Magazine, July 2009


2006 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"This very dry wine is dominated by its hard tannins, and comes across as a bit rigid and austere, especially by California standards. Yet it’s very finely structured, with a keen edge of black pepper to the currant and blackberry flavors buried way beneath. Give it through 2009, but if you must drink now, decant."
- S.H., Wine Enthusiast Magazine, December 14, 2008

"Inky ruby. Explosively perfumed nose offers a sexy bouquet of smoky dark berries, cherry preserves, fruitcake, olive and incense. Fleshy and youthfully bitter, offering deep cassis and dark cherry flavors that are framed by lightly chewy tannins and gain sweetness with air. The spicy notes echo on the sappy, very long finish. This is already delicious but has the concentration to reward patience."
- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Nov/Dec 2008

"PharaohMoans 2006 is a blend of 96% Syrah and 4% Grenache. It offers plenty of espresso roast, blackberry liqueur, licorice, smoke and a hint of barbecue spices in a full-bodied, powerful style. More tannic and structured than some of its siblings, it is meant for long-term cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2018."
- Robert Parker, July 2008


2005 PharaohMoans Paso Robles Syrah

"Inky purple. Seductively perfumed nose offers ripe but well-focused blackberry and creme de cassis scents, along with smoky vanillin oak, Asian spices, fresh flowers and mocha. Pliant dark fruit flavors possess impressive depth and sweetness, with bracing acidity adding energy. Finishes with gentle grip and a lingering smoky, vanillin quality, leaving an impression of controlled ripeness."
- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellars, Nov/Dec 2007

From Paso Robles, a wine fit for a pharaoh

"The PharaohMoans Syrah 2005 delivers. A treasure trove of flavors gushes forth from this exceptional wine: The intense ripeness is countered by the scent of sweet tar and bacon fat, while flavors of mocha, licorice, coffee, and savory coriander temper the rich palate. From its unlikely name to its complex infusion of riotously ripe berry fruit, earth spices, and soft smoke, PharaohMoans demonstrates that world-class wine does not have to be stuffy, but rather can (and should) be world-class fun. A wonderful thing indeed."
- Bret Anderson, Robb Report, September 2007

"Like my WRO colleague Patrick Comiskey, I don't want my Pinot Noir to taste like Syrah, but I do indeed want my Syrah to taste like Syrah. This exceptional wine does that in spades, with very dark, rich, berry-flavored fruit that is concentrated but not jammy or obvious in its fruitiness. There's plenty of wood and tannin in the mix to offer bracing and a textural counterpoint to the fruit component, but the balance is right, making it possible to enjoy the wine now or wait for another five years for additional aromatic complexities. Tasted again 24 hours after the cork was pulled, the wine didn't seem to have lost any of its freshness, suggesting that it will hold up very well to ageing."
- Michael Franz,, May 8, 2007

"Dense, concentrated, explosive and other-worldly with sweet, ripe, intense blackberry fruit and balanced flavors; long, thick and complex; definitely not your grandpa's syrah."
- Anthony Dias Blue, Wine Editor, Bon Appetit Magazine

"What a monster wine! Loaded with fruit....needs time, but wow! I particularly love the fact that it has fresh acidity to balance the ripeness. Bravo."
- Linda Murphy, San Francisco Chronicle