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Horsepower Vineyards The Tribe Vineyard Syrah 2012

  • RP97
  • WS95
  • JS95
750ML / 14.1% ABV
Other Vintages
  • RP98
  • JS98
  • WE96
  • WS95
  • RP96
  • JS94
  • WS93
  • WE96
  • RP96
  • WS95
  • RP98
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750ML / 14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The self-nourishing interrelationship of earth, plants and animals have been central to vigneron Christophe Baron’s farming philosophy ever since he pioneered biodynamic farming in the Walla Walla Valley in 2002.

Horsepower is farmed according to an astrological sowing and planting calendar, and entirely without the use of herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, chemical insecticides or fungicides.

Five draft horses cultivate The Tribe Vineyard, a 3 acre Syrah vineyard that is planted one vine per stake. Spacing is 3.5 feet by 3.5 feet, totaling 3,555 vines per acre.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 97
More gamy, bloody and meaty than the Sur Echalas Vineyard Syrah, the 2012 Syrah The Tribe Vineyard is a full-bodied, elegant, concentrated and structured effort that gives up complex notes of savory dark fruits, beef blood, dried herbs, pepper and olives. It's another incredible Syrah that needs short-term cellaring, but will have two decades of evolution.
WS 95
Supple and expressive, with plum and currant flavors and stony overtones combining with hints of black olive and white pepper, adding depth to a distinctive profile on a medium-weight frame that punches above its weight. The deft balance plays against nubby tannins. Drink now through 2025.
JS 95
This shows a beautiful beef and dark-fruit character with hints of sweet tobacco as well as plums and dried violet-like florals. The palate delivers impressive concentration with a wealth of blackberries and dark plums, cocoa powder and graphite. Super fresh, lithe and long. Drink or hold.
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Horsepower Vineyards

Horsepower Vineyards

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Horsepower Vineyards, Washington
Horsepower Vineyards is about tradition and history—and making history. It's a connection between a vigneron and his roots. An homage to craft and family. An embrace of the earth that seems at once old-fashioned and new. And at its simplest, it’s a man slowly working the vineyard with his horse, just like generations before him.

Tradition isn’t an abstract concept to Christophe Baron, founder of both Cayuse Vineyards and Horsepower Vineyards—he was born into it. The oldest son of the centuries-old Champagne house, Baron Albert, his family has worked their land in the Marne Valley of France since 1677. As recently as 1957 horses still did all of the vineyard cultivation.

Horsepower represents a return to that time, to a simplicity of craftsmanship and purpose that has been largely lost in the modern translation. It’s a window to the Old World—right here in the new.

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Walla Walla Valley

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Responsible for some of Washington’s most highly acclaimed wines, the Walla Walla Valley has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years and is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers.

The Walla Walla Valley, a Native American name meaning “many waters,” is located in southeastern Washington; part of the appellation actually extends into Oregon. Soils here are well-drained, sandy loess over Missoula Flood deposits and fractured basalt.

It is a region perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of red berry, black olive, smoke and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot create a range of styles from smooth and supple to robust and well-structured. White varieties are rare but some producers blend Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon, resulting in a rich and round style, and plantings of Viognier, while minimal, are often quite successful.

Of note within Walla Walla, is one new and very peculiar appellation, called the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. This is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries are totally defined by the soil type. Soils here look a bit like those in the acclaimed Rhône region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but are large, ancient, basalt cobblestones. These stones work in the same way as they do in Chateauneuf, absorbing and then radiating the sun's heat up to enhance the ripening of grape clusters. The Rocks District is within the part of Walla Walla that spills over into Oregon and naturally excels in the production of Rhône varieties like Syrah, as well as the Bordeaux varieties.

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Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

ACB142995_2012 Item# 142995