2007 Horsley Vinyards Reserve Syrah Noir

Five Cypress Vineyard, Dunnigan Hills, Yolo County, CA, 14.0% ABV
$5 at the Berkeley, CA store

This wine has been around, off and on, since the sale last November, and I thought I’d finally try it.  It was referenced briefly at the time here.  As described on their web site, the grapes for this wine were dry-farmed in Yolo County, northeast and over the hills from Napa County.  (As you can see farther down that page, they also sound pretty serious about their Pinot Noir.  Anyone, please let me know if you’ve tried it.)

I find the wine itself quite impressive, if a little young still.  There’s not so much on the nose yet, but on the palate there’s lovely violets, lavender, purple plum, perhaps mulberry and licorice, with plenty of acid from the purple plum and sour red cherry.  The tannin on the finish is not mouth-clamping but quite substantial.  I would easily give this wine a few more years of age before it’s at its peak, when it should be quite lovely.  In the meantime, perhaps this is another Syrah to decant a day ahead.  This is New World fruit, but not “Parker-type.”  (I served this at a dinner gathering, so I did not get to save any to try at a later date.  It went well with the pork chops with herbs, but not as well with the lamb chops.)  The effort of farming Syrah in an unfashionable location reminded me of Steve Edmunds, and, in its tough-but-floral character, the wine does, too.

8 thoughts on “2007 Horsley Vinyards Reserve Syrah Noir

  1. jhrabideau

    I stumbled across a couple bottles of this in a hidden corner of the cellar this afternoon, and opened one this evening…what a surprise! I had recalled the 2007 Syrah Noir being a little austere and aloof, with a repressed acid (cherry pit) core, and low peripherals–after three-plus years horizontal cellar time, it’s gorgeous: lush dark fruit, spice cake, fig bread, and hint of garrigue, but more in the Alpine vein. This most reminds me of some of my very favorite reserve Lagreins (think Alois Lageder Lindenburg, Abbazia di Novacella Riserva, or Abtei Muri) in profile.

    If you’ve got a bottle or two hanging around, this is at a really rewarding point. Be warned, though, that this loves meats, herbs, and starches, but cannot abide the acidity in tomatoes (becomes a bit garbled and awkward on the palate, losing all fruit), even from the Dunnigan Hills (had an organic earthbound one from the farmers’ market, to test to see if it was just the store-bought hydroponic it didn’t want to play with). It does take a most definite shine to blueberries, though.

    Glad I’ve another bottle of this–and this scores easily as my happy cellar discovery of the year.

    Dinner was kangaroo burger, seasoned with herbes de provence–any game meat, veal, lamb, or lean beef grilled with herb rub should be close to analog.

    Will be checking the Citrus Heights GO for another couple bottles of the Horsley, as it’s the one in Sac-land that’s most like a GO wine museum.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Wow, JH! Thanks for your report! I was impressed with this wine when I reviewed it, and bought a few bottles to lay down in cool storage. I looked at them recently and thought, “Naw, no hurry.” But now I’ll have to dig one out again. 🙂

      1. jhrabideau

        Do hope yours is just as good…I popped, waited an hour and poured. 🙂 No decant. Does have a fine sheen of neck sediment; I’ll comment on any bottom sediment tomorrow. No sediment has transferred to the glass, however, so it may be low-sediment–using a narrow bordeaux glass (Schott Zwiesel). In my relatively limited experience, Dunnigan Hills AVA tends to produce lower-sediment wines.

        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi JH. I finally got around to following up on your report. I drank my bottle over two days, first decanting the wine off a reasonable amount of sludgy sediment. The first half, consumed over about two hours, was indeed very impressive, showing dark, tarry, black-peppery blackberry / blueberry, some violets, and when warmer, some nice earthy, pruney, aged complexity. However, it was still a bit rough and acid in the finish. The second half, saved stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air, still needed about an hour before nicely integrating these flavors and a dark red cherry. I think I still have 2 or 3 more bottles of this, and I’ll wait another year or two before opening the next. Although very interesting to drink now, I’m guessing I’ll like it better softened up a little more.

  2. Rondo

    Opened a bottle and drank it over four days, with the wine improving each day; so it probably would be appropriate to decant it a day ahead as Bargainwhine suggests. The wine was dark purple,full body with concentrated flavors of blackberry, plums, pepper,spice, a touch of chocolate, with leathery tannins on the finish, which were resolved during the third day; the fourth day the wine was more voluptuous.

    1. Rondo

      Thanks for the link to the winery.
      I noticed that the 2007’s haven’t been released yet and are still sleeping in their cellar 🙂

      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Rondo! Yes, I noticed that, too, and wondered if the web site’s not being updated was related to the wine’s showing up at the GO.

        Thanks for your notes!

        1. Joel

          The San Pablo store has had the 2006 and 2007 Cypress syrahs; may still have some 2007. Both wines came out very nice for the price ( $ 4.99).


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