Located in Walla Walla Valley, Washington, USA, Hors Catégorie Vineyards was established in 2011 and is the first vineyard planted on the steep slope along the North Fork of the Walla River. Situated in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, this picturesque setting presents an extraordinary terroir characterized by a rare combination of climate, exposure, and topography, making it an incomparable wine-growing estate.
The vineyard primarily focuses on cultivating Syrah vines, which grow tenaciously on the hillside beneath ragged cliffs and are surrounded by rocky outcroppings. The challenging conditions force the vines’ roots to struggle for nourishment in the fractured basalt soil, contributing to the unique character of the wines produced here.
Wine Spectator Harvey Steiman visited the site for the first time in 2006 and was impressed by the expressiveness, power, and weightlessness of the American Syrah produced at Hors Catégorie. Tasting the wine straight from 600-litre Demi-muids, he noticed an open, almost weightless texture with mineral notes reminiscent of wet stones and hot bricks and hints of cinnamon, fresh-baked bread, and a field of flowers.
Steiman continued to be impressed by the wines in subsequent years, particularly after barrel-tasting the 2014 vintage. He reaffirmed that the combination of expressiveness, power, and weightlessness found in Hors Catégorie’s Syrah is a rare and remarkable quality not often seen in American Syrahs.
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