2016 Hors Catégorie Vineyards Syrah Hors Catégorie Vineyards, Walla Walla Valley, Washington, USA
99 Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate (December 2019)
The 2016 Syrah is almost shy on the nose, compact and focused, waiting to hit the palate with red fruit that is mineral and floral at the same time. The real magic happens when you taste the wine. It's like watching a jumbo jet land for the first time and wondering how something so massive could literally appear weightless as it lands. The wine glides across the palate effortlessly with focus and precision and evolves with layers, showing depth and breadth in an instant. The Syrah quietly explodes with textural appeal and peppercorn notes that linger and linger, turning to soft smoky meat with blackberry jus. Long and drawn out, the finish is long and contemplative, continuing to wind down an ever-changing path with tones of mineral tension. I end up staring at the glass in amazement, thinking, "How did they do this with such young vines?" and was able to utter two words which I will spare our readers. The finish continues to be pulled longer and longer as if it were made of taffy. Only 1,000 bottles were produced and will be packaged into 500 two-pack cases for the serious collector. Absolutely stunning, bravo!
96 Stephen Tanzer, Vinous (December 2019)
Good medium red. Tight but already incredibly complex nose offers classic northern Rhône (Hermitage?) scents of dark raspberry, licorice, black pepper and brown spices. Robust and densely packed but also savory, smooth and magically light on its feet, with its flavors of crushed blueberry and blackberry, spices and saline minerality conveying remarkable urgency for a wine with a pH of 4.1. Finishes with serious but harmonious tannins and outstanding palate-staining length and lift. This remarkable site, as wild and Old World in appearance as any in Washington, is worked with a winch owing to its steepness and produces barely 1.5 tons per acre of fruit in a good year. Christophe Baron, who vinifies all of his wines with wild yeasts, does a cool fermentation (never higher than 85 degrees F.) and ages this wine in a combination of mostly demi-muids, the youngest of which was third use, and some barriques. A knockout. (from a mostly south-facing slope in a bucolic valley in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, planted in 2011 at an altitude between 1,350 and 1,450 feet and at a slope reaching as steep as 60 degrees)
97 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (April 2020)
From Christophe’s new planting in the North Fork region in Oregon, the 2017 Syrah tastes like a wine from the La Landonne lieu-dit in Côte Rôtie, offering a huge nose of blackcurrants, wood smoke, chocolate, cured meats, violets, and damp earth. Rich, full-bodied, and powerful, it’s a singular, incredibly meaty, truffly Syrah that has a great mid-palate, ripe tannins, and a blockbuster of a finish. It’s another killer wine from this label that’s going to evolve for decades. I followed this bottle for four days and it never showed a hint of oxidation. Do your best to hide bottles for 4-5 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following 25+ years.
|2x75cl||3 cases||£900.00||In Bond||View|