One of the famed wineries in Washington State as part of the Cayuse arm, Horsepower Vineyards are amongst the most coveted wines in the Pacific Northwest — and for good reason. Famed vigneron, Christophe Baron, is a self-described animal lover who recalls the use of draft horses while he was growing up in the Champagne region of France. 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. The wines from this vineyard are intense with a vibrant sense of minerality and they show exceptional range. Simply put, they are unlike any other wines from this region.
I have had the chance to sample a few older bottles of Horsepower over the past year from the 2012 and 2013 vintage and I can proudly say that the wines are holding quite brilliantly. I think that the Horsepower wines from 2016 are amongst the most compelling that have ever been produced in terms of tension, mouthfeel, and aromatic/flavor range.
The 2016 Horsepower ‘Sur Echelas Vineyard’ Grenache (WWB, 99) is the best wine I have ever had by Horsepower. It is a monumental wine that has such insanely good range that this head-turning Grenache has so many working components that it is quite challenging to wrap your head around. Nearly as good was the 2016 Horsepower ‘Sur Echelas Vineyard’ Syrah (WWB, 98) which shows great power, range and tension. This is up there with the best Syrah that is made in North America, let alone Washington. Learn more about these very special wines at https://horsepowervineyards.com/horsepowervineyards/ Here are the stunning new wines by Horsepower Vineyards.
2016 Horsepower Vineyards ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ Grenache- The ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ Grenache is a stunning new bottling by superstar vigneron Christophe Baron and assistant vigneronne Elizabeth Bourcier. The head-turning bouquet entices with potpourri, wild strawberry, tobacco leaf, wet stone and shades of Umami with blood orange zest and charcuterie on this highly complex and satisfying nose. The palate is lithe and light on its feet, as the wine simply dazzles across the palate. The marvelous salinity produces gobs of mouth-watering acidity. Leather, tarragon, orange zest, red cherry candy and shades of guava puree with white truffle shavings all round out this highly gratifying palate. The range imparted in the wine is second to none. The texture to this wine is also absolutely gorgeous as the wine has a seamless quality that gracefully dances across the mid-palate. Monumental, profound and a delight to savor now, this ‘Sur Echalas’ Grenache up there with the best of its kind in North America. Drink 2019-2029- 99
2016 Horsepower Vineyards ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ Syrah- The 2016 ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ Syrah is a scintillating new release by the uber-talented winemaking team at Horsepower Vineyards. Magical and downright head-turning on the bouquet, the Syrah leads with green peppercorn alongside shades of black licorice, Umami, salted charcuterie and green olive tapenade that all impress in the glass. The palate has incredible freshness and salinity, with gobs of mouth-watering acidity that makes this nearly impossible to put down in its youth. Seaweed, black truffle shavings, cigar box, salted smoked meats and shades of blackberry cobbler all impress on the palate. Precise, with incredible tension and mouthfeel, this stunning wine will be best enjoyed over the next ten years. Drink 2019-2029- 98
2016 Horsepower Vineyards ‘High Contrast Vineyard’ Syrah- The ‘High Contrast Vineyard’ Syrah is a new wine in this exciting Horsepower lineup. The vineyard is a 3.3 acre parcel on the edge of the AVA, planted in 2013 mostly to Syrah and a touch Viognier. The nose is quite perfumed with shades of wet stone with bulls blood, white pepper, with black truffle shavings and charcuterie that all impress in the glass. The Syrah displays a highly refined and gratifying texture on the palate, showing very soft tannins that mingle with the soft mouthfeel. Red currant, wild blackberry, wet stone and Umami characters with suggestions of black peppercorn all shine brightly on the palate. Outstanding in its youth, this stunning Syrah will evolve well for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 96
2016 Horsepower Vineyards ‘The Tribe Vineyard’ Syrah- The 2016 ‘The Tribe Vineyard’ by Cayuse Vineyards is a show-stopping bottle. Planted in 2009, ‘The Tribe Vineyard’ is a 3.5 X 3.5 spaced vineyard that is entirely planted to Syrah. The seaweed quality is quite marvelous aromatically with Hoisin sauce, blackberry cobbler and wet stone character that all shine brightly on the nose. Showing wonderful weight and texture, the wine shows amazing finesse and tension with minerals and black fruits and Umami that mingle nicely on the palate. Outstanding now this beautiful new Syrah evolve well over the next ten to fifteen years. Drink 2019-2029- 95