I’ve always been a fan of the wines from Paul Gordon’s Halcon label, and if you like cool-climate wines that have depth, texture and balance, you’re going to love these latest releases.
The label focuses primarily on the estate Halcon Vineyard, which is in the Mendocino Appellation of the Yorkville Highlands, roughly 60 miles north of St. Helene. The site was planted by Paul in 2005 and sits at an elevation of 2,500 feet above sea-level, making it one of the highest vineyards in California. Covering 15 acres planted mostly with Syrah (there’s a little Viognier, Grenache and Mourvèdre), it’s a tiny, fringe site open to the Pacific Ocean on the west which shares lots of similarities to the northern Rhône: Cool temperatures (it’s above the fog line so it sees plenty of sunshine), long hang time, rocky, schist soils, and ample daytime breezes. All of this comes through in the wines and all the releases from this vineyard have a similar cool-climate, spicy, pepperiness – as well as a graceful texture and inherent elegance – that’s reminiscent of a Côte Rôtie from the Côte Blonde lieu-dit.
While Paul is actively involved in the winemaking, he’s aided by Scott Shapley, who’s worked with the likes of Roar, Siduri and Roessler Cellars. Their flagship cuvee is the Alturas Syrah, yet they also make a GSM blend called Esquisto, a Petite Sirah from the Theopolis Vineyard, and mostly recently, and handful of single vineyard Pinot Noirs.
All of these latest releases were tasted in my office in Colorado, and I was able to follow all the bottles for multiple days.