Horsepower Vineyards The Tribe Vineyard Syrah 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Aromas of ash, black pepper, rock salt, black olive, wet stone, potpourri and fresh tobacco lead to outrageously expressive, savory flavors on the palate. There is intensity to the flavors, but still a profound sense of elegance and balance. The finish lingers on accents of potpourri and smoked meat. Hold until at least 2025.
The 2016 Syrah The Tribe Vineyard is slightly more straight and focused than the Sur Echalas Vineyard, revealing a deep purple color, lots of cassis and plum fruits, full-bodied richness, and classic meaty, violet, and peppery aromas and flavors. It’s slightly less exotic than the Sur Echalas release, yet is still a beautiful, concentrated, age-worthy wine. It too needs short-term cellaring and I wouldn’t touch a bottle until at least 3-4 years after release.
This has such impressive, silky black fruit with interwoven spices and subtle, meaty nuances. The intensity of fruit is dialed-up in this wine. There’s a very pure, bright fruit core here that pushes out of the mid-palate with a lot of energy and stony, graphite-like notes. This has a wealth of dark berries on offer. Such length and balance. Planted at 8,500 vines per hectare. Drink or hold. Best from 2022.
The 2016 Syrah The Tribe Vineyard has complex aromas of peppercorn-crusted meat, iodine and smoke along with crushed violets and a wet river rock minerality. The wine is medium to full-bodied on the palate, showing soft tones of underbrush that add to the range of the expressions on the palate, later moving to a delicate stemmy note with a flutter of Sakura. The finish is thoughtful and complete, with good focus and balance. Only 525 cases produced.
Polished, multilayered and distinctly spirited, with vivid huckleberry, black olive and peppered beef flavors that take on richness and speed toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2027.
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.
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.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”