One of the great project wineries in Washington, started by eminent vigneron, Christophe Baron, Horsepower Vineyards produces three special wines — two Syrahs and one Grenache. As an animal lover, Christophe remembers his years growing up in the Champagne region of France and recalls the use of draft horses that influenced Europe for the better. In his Walla Walla AVA vineyards his horses help cultivate vineyards ranging from 3,555 to 4,840 vines per acre with as little as 3' x 3' spacing—planted 1 vine per stake, or “sur echalas” in French. One of the most exciting vineyards in Washington State, the Sur Echalas Vineyard creates wines that are so profound they’re nearly impossible to describe. The struggle of the vines in these close quarters creates a remarkable tension and intensity. These stunning wines are made by Christophe and his highly talented assistant vigneronne, Elizabeth Bourcier.
I had the chance to try their first vintage, this past year, the 2011 ‘The Tribe VIneyard’ Syrah and I was amazed by the richness and complexity of the wine. Quite simply, the wine is aging marvelously. Like all Horsepower releases since that time, Christophe and Elizabeth have hit a home run with their new wines, which come from a somewhat challenging vintage that saw some severe heat spikes, particularly in the area where they grow their gapes. I was simply amazed by the 2015 Horsepower ‘Sur Echelas Vineyard’ Grenache (WWB, 97) which is one of the world’s great expression of Grenache. Nearly as good was the 2015 Horsepower ‘Sur Echelas Vineyard’ Syrah (WWB, 96) which has incredible tension and richness, with an insanely good aromatic range. Needless to say, Christophe and Elizabeth continue to be on top of their game, producing some of the best wines in North America. Learn more about these very special wines at https://horsepowervineyards.com/horsepowervineyards/
Here are the gorgeous new wines by Horsepower Vineyards.
2015 Horsepower Vineyards ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ Grenache- The 2015 Horsepower Vineyards ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ Grenache is a highly memorable effort that is one of the best of its kind in the state. White truffle and peat moss aromatics you immediately on the nose with earthy undertones that impress. Red fruits and citrus qualities come into the nose as well, as this shows some serious aromatic range in the glass. The palate shows striking intensity, verve and tension. The range of flavors is insanely good, as the wine unveils seductive flavors of white truffle crudo, red currant jelly, cran-orange, peat moss, wet stone and white pepper. The range of flavors makes this absolutely impossible to put down right now. This is a complete wine. Drink 2018-2028- 97
2015 Horsepower Vineyards ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ Syrah- The ‘Sur Echalas Syrah’ by Horsepower is one of the wines of the vintage. The nose on this Syrah is hugely intense with Asian spice, peat moss, black truffle oil, white pepper, green olive, and charcuterie. The heady aromatics bring you back to the glass for more hedonism. The palate is silky smooth and reveals an incredible texture. The sterling minerality also grips you. Wet stone, black tea, Umami, smoked brisket and Asian spice flavors all show a wonderful combination in the glass. Enjoy this great wine over the next eight to ten years. Drink 2018-2028- 96
2015 Horsepower Vineyards ‘The Tribe Vineyard’ Syrah- The 2015 Horsepower Vineyards ‘The Tribe’ Syrah is a head-turning wine that is drinking marvelously right now. This Syrah shows an incredible range of aromatics from horse manure to peat moss to black fruits. The complex aromas that build in the glass bring you back for more delight. This shows marvelous freshness, showing a wonderful minerality on the palate. Tar, blackberry compote, ripe blueberry, Umami and Kalmatta olive tapenade with a touch of white pepper flavors fill the palate. This is a stunning effort that will cellar marvelously over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 95