2015 Halcón "Alturas" Yorkville Highlands Syrah

SKU #1299964 94 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The 2015 Syrah Alturas is also a beauty that has a passing resemblance to a good vintage of Guigal’s Côte Rôtie la Mouline (just with less oak). Violets, incense, spring flowers, blackberries and blueberry notes all flow to a full-bodied, elegant, seamlessly textured Syrah that has plenty of classic pepper and spice, solid mid-palate depth and ripe tannin on the finish. It needs an hour in the decanter if drinking over the coming 2-3 years, and will have 15+ years of overall longevity. (JebDunnuck.com)  (7/2017)

94 points Wine Enthusiast

 This fascinating high-elevation wine brings out the wild side of Syrah, from the earth and leather aromas to the black pepper and wood-smoke flavors. It is nicely dry--tannic but not biting--and holds its fruit flavors in check while letting the feral nature of the grapes grown at 2,500-feet take over. *Editors’ Choice* (JG)  (5/2018)

93 points Vinous

 The 2015 Syrah Estate Alturas is one of the most distinctive wines in the range. Deceptively medium in body, the Altures delivers serious flavor intensity and punch, with plenty of tannic grip to back things up. Blue and purplish-hued stone fruit, tobacco, herbs, smoke and savory herbs lead the way as the 2015 gains volume and depth into its deep, baritone finish. There is no shortage of personality, that much is obvious. This is a terrific showing from Halcón. (AG)  (8/2017)

K&L Notes

Halcón Vineyards is certainly not a household name in wine at this point but that may change very soon. To us here in the K&L Domestic Department they have been on our radar since we first tasted their 2009 vintage a number of years ago. That first wine we tasted, the 2009 Alturas, was like a slap in the face. We taste so many new wines every year but so few actually make you instantly pay attention and look at what is really there. Ever since we've been wildly intrigued and supportive of this high elevation vineyard in the burgeoning area of the Yorkville Highlands and look forward to tasting the wines year in and year out. (Bryan Brick, Domestic Buyer)

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Price: $27.99
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Staff Image By: Anthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/8/2017 | Send Email
This is a softer approach to Syrah then a lot of it's California counterparts. The grapes are sourced from vineyards that sit 2500 ft. in the mountains and is one of the highest elevation vineyards in the state. The wine has velvety tannin and packed with elegant dark fruit. A flinty and mineral tone are found from the nose to the finish giving the wine complexity and texture.

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/3/2017 | Send Email
Last year this winery had a coming out party with its 2014 releases. They were highly scored in Wine Advocate and the door was ajar. Orders flooded in and the wines were sold out in a matter of days. This year we may run into a similar problem as again the scores are good and 2015 for Halcón, like most in California, was a very, very small vintage. This 100% Syrah blend from the estate vineyard high in the Yorkville Highlands (2,500ft) was fermented with 40% whole clusters and is full of the meaty savor that I love in Domestic Syrah. Superb aromatics of fleshy wildberry, crushed stone and burnt ends lead to supple caressing flavors of bacon, braised meats, blueberry and darkly roasted artisanal coffee. This wine is just beginning to unravel and if the past vintages are any indication will age slowly and gracefully for some time.

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/1/2017 | Send Email
Halcon's estate vineyard in Yorkville Highlands is one of the highest in California and has soils similar to that of Cote Rotie, giving Northern Rhone inspiration for the Alturas Syrah. This impressive, full-bodied Syrah shows elegance and aging potential with its complex aromatics and structure on the finish. Blackberry, pomegranate, vanilla, spice and subtle hints of floral notes bring this beautiful wine together.

Additional Information:



- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Anderson Valley/Mendocino

- Cooled by the nearby ocean and the seemingly omnipresent bank of oceanic fog, this picturesque wine region is home to a wealth of cool-climate grapes like riesling and gewürztraminer plus chardonnay and pinor noir, which are responsible for impressive and intense sparkling wines.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5