2016 Halcon Vineyards, Syrah, Elevación, Halcon Estate, Yorkville Highlands.
The fantastic new Halcon Elevacion cuvee is an inaugural release, it’s a 100% Syrah that comes from their estate vines high up in the Yorkville Highlands. It is a single block of Chave clone, done with 100% whole-cluster in a very ultra traditional and classic Northern Rhone style. This is one of the best Syrah’s of the year so far, with it’s sweet perfume of crushed violets and lilacs mixed with nervy stems adding energy and tension to an open textured wine of complex detail and exotic highlights of flavors that range from boysenberry, plum, blackberry to cherry and currant fruits along with minty herb, peppercorns, liquid mineral, cassis, cedar and anise. Owner Paul Gordon, along with winemaker Scott Shapely, also of Roar, wanted to explore the individual blocks starting with Gordon’s favorite clone. This parcel was planted back in 2005 along with main vineyard. Paul personally likes, as do I, the extra complexity and elegance the 100% stems bring, I love as well the nervy energy, and there is a little carbonic pop to the fruit (which comes from the whole berries fermenting in the absence (scarcity?) of oxygen). With Gordon adding “(This is) Our first vintage of this special cuvee. Made using Halcón estate fruit, this wine is 100% Chave selection Syrah fermented with 100% whole-cluster and aged in a single neutral French oak puncheon. This wine highlights the meaty, savory characteristics of the Chave selection combined with the floral, spicy elements from the stems. No adjustments to alcohol nor acids and native yeasts.” Just 50 cases, two barrels were made, it was unfined and unfiltered, coming in at very Cornas like at 13.2% natural alcohol. There’s so much to admire here, from the expression of place, vineyard and style to the lingering intensity of the aftertaste, this deep garnet hued wine is a gorgeous example of what Syrah can be in California, it joins Drew, Piedrasassi, Pax, Peay, Lucia (Pisoni), Big Basin, Stolpman and Alban to name a few of the elite players in great Syrah in the golden state. Refined tannins and ripe texture allow this Halcon Elevacion to be enjoyed young, but it should get even better with another few years of age, this awesome stuff has a huge drinking window from now until 2027 at least. If you like Northern Rhone wines and geek out on stems, whole cluster wines then you’ll love this Syrah and will not want to miss this limited offering from Halcon, this is a list you need to be on.
($38 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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