Shout out to Paul Gordon: TN--2015 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas

Paul nailed this wine. Drinking this over the last day, this has left a strong impression on me. While it was more closed up and restrained in tone yesterday, the added air has shifted the wine to something that is more CA in tone, and added darker, plusher feel. But, do not get hung up on this being ripe, sweet or any of that jazz–this has great depth, savory markers and a tangy, leathery accent throughout that brings this into something that is more universally delicious, with both Rhone and CA expressions. Paul, give yourself a hand, you’ve done something delicious here.

Happy holidays everyone.

  • 2015 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas - USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (12/24/2017)
    Opened and poured to get some immediate impressions. This is $30? I think I stole this from Paul Gordon for that price–super right from the first pour. The initial aromatics remind me of something older world, with a mix of leather, light stable (and I passionately dislike brett, and it’s not brett) and something akin to a mix of flint/gunpowder–put all that together for the bouquet. Medium weight, cedar, blueberry skin, cherry, dark raspberry, tangy herb/garrigue (assume from whole cluster, although it’s not a big player in the bouquet). Serve this blind to me, I’d think something from Rhone, which oughta make Paul happy. Dynamite stuff and my hope is that the aeration this will see won’t change the wine as what’s here right now is spot on the kind of syrah I want to purchase, enjoy and drink…Day 2, with just some crackers and cheese. Drinking the remaining 1/3rd from last night’s open bottle, this has filled in nicely and the palate has a plusher, more concentrated expression, more clearly like CA. The flavors are delicious–savory, iron, darker fruit (some black has been added, with the red still dominant) and an intense licorice note woven through the finish. The whole cluster imprint is more present today too, applying some of the dried flower/potpourri to the aromatics, and infusing the savory aspect to the palate. Just a gorgeous bottle of syrah and one Paul can feel proud of. If this is the kind of CA syrah that he is fashioning from the Halcon plot, I am in for 2016 to stay on this ride.

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I’ll be looking to buy the 16’s as well.

I just found a ‘10 hiding (along with a ‘10 Esquito — 100% Mourvèdre) that I’ll be opening quite soon.

I stopped buying Paul’s reds due to the shift to whole-cluster. I still love the Prado, though! And totally agree; $30 is a stupid price for the quality of Halćon.

Kyle, I has missed the mark on your palate, as I thought you had joined me within the ranks of the fragile, acidic, shrill crowd. Learning now that you are not of this mind, I have decided to head out to shop today, in defense of really feeling my disappointment about all of this. Should you wish to talk about all of this, I am here to set you straight any time, brother.


Hey now, Frank, Kyle’s rocking a bottle of Mourvedre. Don’t bust his chops too much. :wink:

I keep getting the same impression from the WB tasting notes on Halcón reds: the wines appear to be in the top running for California Syrahs that emulate the earthier, darker elements of the Northern Rhône.

Would you agree with my thoughts, Frank?

Interesting. I really like what Paul has done, gradually, in adding a bit of whole cluster. Really, I can barely notice it, relative to some wines that hit you over the head with it. But I think it adds just the right amount of complexity and interest.

A cool Berserker Day offering - hint, hint - would be a several year vertical of the Halcon so we can all see the changes Paul has made here, with some whole cluster and less use of new oak. I lost track of the last several vintages, just trying to cut my Cali-to-Florida deliveries that 50% of the time get stuck somewhere. Would love to get on the wagon again.

I tried the 2015 “Alturas” with Paul and Jackie at their vineyard a few months ago and thought it was rather tight and tannic at that time but showing a meaty, gamey profile along with black fruit, iron, and a bit of black pepper. It did open up somewhat with time but I’d be inclined to hold the 2015 for awhile - lots of potential for more development. FWIW, the 2013 “Alturas”, which Paul and Jackie opened on the same occasion, was really singing, with very savory aromas along with flowers, dark fruit, smoke, and earth - in a great spot right now but should age beautifully too. The 2015 “Esquisto” tasted at that time was also excellent and I thought it was more ready to go than the 2015 “Alturas”. Can’t go wrong with any of these wines.

Paul doesn’t keep library wines. You’ll just have to live vicariously through us.

Thanks for the note Frank. Ditto Ken.

Kyle - I will send you a bottle of the 15 Alturas next week. I think you will find nothing “stemmy”.

Robert A. - Brian is right that we have very little library. With lower crop levels the last few years it has been really hard to hold back wine.

I am with Rob P. and thinking our 2016 will be the best Alturas to date. It has the structure of the 14/15 but a little more open and accessible.

  • 2015 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas - USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (12/27/2017)
    This had been open for days and still held up nicely. I like the leaner California syrah and this clocks in at 13.5 ABV. Very dark color and it’ll leave spots on the glass. Nose is solid iodine. Lots of black fruit flavors but not sweet. Huge dusty chalk midpalate and dried sagebrush. Mouthfeel is lean. Quite nice.

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