ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "Of these three offerings from Horsepower, the 2015 Syrah The Tribe Vineyard will require the most time, as it's the most tight-knit at this early stage, slowly unwinding in the glass with savory aromas of raw cocoa, tapenade, nori and ripe blackberries. On the palate, it's full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with a rich chassis of satiny structuring tannins and a layered, umami-laden core of fruit. At 13.6% alcohol, it's also beautifully balanced."
JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "It's always a fun tasting with winemaker Matt Dees and his team, and they continue to keep this estate at the top of the hierarchy in Santa Barbara County. Located in Ballard Canyon AVA, they pull only from their estate vineyard (planted on incredibly sandy soils) and make a wide range of cuvées, from a red and white Bordeaux blends, to a 100% Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and a number of terrific Rhône blends. The common thread is incredible quality."
"Unquestionably the star of the show is the 2014 La Sangre de Jonata, and it's a more finesse driven, elegant, cool climate example of the cuvee than normal. Reminding me of an Hermitage from Bessards, it offers gorgeous notes of blackberries, cassis, leather, scorched earth and pepper. Possessing full-bodied richness, firm, polished tannin and a focused finish, it will be more approachable that most vintage of this cuvee, yet I still wouldn't touch bottles for 3-5 years. If you must drink a bottle over the coming couple of years, give it a 2-hour decant."
JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "The 2016 La Sangre de Jonata (98% Syrah and 2% Viognier) is a beautiful follow on to the sensational 2015 and has a layered, multi-dimensional, massive profile. Blackcurrants, blackberries, lavender, bacon fat, and spring flower notes all flow to a seriously rich, powerful wine that stays light and graceful, with awesome tannin quality. It's another tour de force that reminds me of the 2007. It shuts down with extended air time (I followed this bottle for two days) and while it can certainly be enjoyed today, it won't hit prime time for another 4-6 years and should keep for two decades or more."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96+ POINTS - "The 2016 La Sangre de Jonata is a wine of real substance and depth. In 2016, the La Sangre is distinguished by its red fruit profile, freshness and vibrant, focused personality, all of which should allow it to age gracefully for a number of years. The 2016 is not as overt as some previous versions have been, but that is probably a very good thing for its longer term prospects. Time in the glass brings out the wine's underlying richness and pedigree."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94-97 POINTS - "The 2017 Syrah Hudson Vineyards is another glorious wine in this range. Rich and inky in the glass, the 2017 offers a compelling interplay of rich fruit allied to a vertical sense of structure. Dark red fruit, spice and floral notes are pushed forward, but it is the wine's total sense of poise that is most impressive today. Unctuous and full-throttle to the core, with head-spinning intensity and exceptional balance, the 2017 Syrah is shaping up to be an absolute jewel of a wine."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94-96+ POINTS - "John Kongsgaard had finished harvest prior to the fires in 2017. While the Atlas Peak fire came dangerously close, the winery was spared and the vineyards received just minimal damage."
"A barrel sample, the deep purple-black colored 2017 Syrah Hudson Vineyard offers black cherries, raspberries, crushed blackberries and tar with hints of anise and a waft of wild thyme. Medium to full-bodied and packed with perfumed fruit, it has lovely rounded tannins and great freshness, finishing long."
JEB DUNNUCK 91-93 POINTS - "Consistently thrilling wines come from l'Aventure, which is run with incredible talent and passion by St. Emilion native Stephan Asseo. His 2016s are incredible efforts, and the 2017 more Rhone blends are certainly in the same ballpark. Due to the heat spikes at harvest, Bordeaux varieties were much more difficult and hit or miss."
"Starting with the wines from barrel, the 2017 Optimus (55% Syrah, 41% Grenache, and the rest Petit Verdot) will certainly be a charming, sexy, outstanding bottle of wine. It gives up lots of cassis and jammy dark fruits in a primary, full-bodied, layered style."
This wine is a joint venture of wine gurus from two continents. The blend is a true collaboration of winemakers Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste Michelle, along with two juggernauts from France, Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie! They have combined their decades of experience to produce a wine that demonstrates why Washington State is one of the best growing regions in the world for Syrah!
Approximately 22% of the lots were fermented as whole clusters, with the remaining
lots fermented as de-stemmed grapes. The inclusion of stems during fermentation
contributes earthy, savory aromas and flavors that perfectly complement the pure fruit
character of the grapes. To further enhance these complexities, about 20% of the lots also
underwent extended maceration. After fermentation, a majority of the young wine was placed into neutral French oak barrels for aging, with the remainder aged in tight-grained new French and American oak barrels. The use of neutral and tighter-grained barrels helps to preserve the unique character of the wine itself. This year the wine is a blend of 90% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 4% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Bright, full ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of dark berries, dark chocolate and spices; less expressive and wild than the 2015 version was at the same stage. Concentrated, silky and fine-grained, displaying sexy spice and violet lift to the concentrated dark berry and licorice flavors. I find more sweetness and primary fruit character--and more generosity of texture--than in the 2015 version of this bottling. The long finish hints at chocolatey ripeness but also shows lovely violet lift and a fine dusting of tannins. This needs aeration or a year or two in the cellar to shed its reductive quality. (I should note that a second bottle was a bit less generous and sweet.) (14.5% alcohol)"