Located in the Stones of the Walla Walla Valley, Horsepower Vineyards is about tradition and history—and making history. It’s a connection between a vigneron and his roots. A homage to craft and family. An embrace of the earth that seems at once old-fashioned and new. And at its simplest, it’s a man slowly working the vineyard with his horse, just like generations before him. Tradition isn’t an abstract concept to Christophe Baron, founder of Cayuse Vineyards and Horsepower Vineyards—he was born into it. The oldest son of the centuries-old Champagne house, Baron Albert, his family has worked their land in the Marne Valley of France since 1677 as recently as 1957, horses still did all of the vineyard cultivation. Horsepower represents a return to that time, to a simplicity of craftsmanship and purpose primarily lost in the modern translation. It’s a window to the Old World in the new.
Christophe Baron was not only the first vigneron to plant successful vineyards in the Stones of the Walla Walla Valley and use biodynamic farming methods but also the first to use horses for cultivation. Zeppo arrived in 2008, and Red followed a year later. Today, the horses and their teamsters cultivate tightly spaced, 19th-century-style vineyards that only they can navigate, using specialized farming equipment created by a blacksmith in Burgundy, France.
That’s why, on any given day in any of our three vineyards, the only sound you’re likely to hear is the hoofbeat of tradition, played and preserved on the stones of Horsepower.
With 3-foot by 3-foot spacing and 4,840 vines per acre, this 2 acre vineyard of Syrah and Grenache is the highest density planting in the Walla Walla Valley, and one of the highest in North America.
Another impeccable wine from Horsepower, this 100% Syrah is aged 18 months in all neutral oak to let the sense of place and terroir shine. It’s my favorite from the line-up and sports an eye-popping deep blue and purple core with a lovely neon purple rim in the glass. Boastful aromas of spiced boysenberry, dried blueberries, freshly cooked bacon, black-peppered charcuterie, umami, and crushed stones pop on the nose. Meaty on the palate, with a secondary hit of iodine, blue plum, and crushed herbs, creates an exciting tension in the wine. It jumps back and forth between a fruit-focused and a meat/spice-focused Syrah. Perfect levels of acidity are perfectly balanced with the smooth and present tannins. The dried pink grapefruit zest on the finish is a perfect final touch. 354 cases made. Highly recommended and Editor’s Choice. —Jeremy Young, International Wine Report