This year, the final blend of La Côte Rousse included barrels from all 4 blocks of Red Mountain Syrah. Clone 383 brings the softest texture, and most perfume to the blend. Delicate notes of lavender and iron are its hallmark. Clone 99 is the most concentrated and structured. Here the fruits lean toward blackberry and raspberry, where both tannin and acid are abundant.. Clone 174 expresses the ripest character of the French clones, combining boysenberry, and pomegranate. At Ranch at the end of the Road, the early ripening Tablas creek clone provides blueberry fruit and smoky meatiness.
|Vintage:||2015||Grape Varietals:||100% Syrah||ABV:||13.8%|
|Aging:||12 months in French oak, 50% new/50% used|
|Serving Temp:||60 - 62°F|
The 2015 La Côte Rousse Syrah combines grapes from 4 unique vineyard sites on Red Mountain, each planted to a different clonal selection of the Syrah grape. At Ciel du Cheval vineyard, Jim Holmes farms 3 of these blocks to 3 different French clones- 383, 174, and 99. Upslope, at Ranch at the End of the Road vineyard, Scott Williams farms the Tablas Creek clone of Syrah. Each of these unique blocks contributes differences in weight, texture, and flavor at the blending table.
The 2015 growing season started early in Washington State, even earlier than 2014 in fact. This lead continued through the growing season, bringing flowering, veraison (50% color in red grapes), and eventually harvest a few days earlier than 2014. While 2014 got warm and stayed that way for nearly the entirety of the season, 2015 experienced a wider range of temperatures. Temperatures during the season regularly rose out of the mid 80’s, slowing climbing toward the high 90’s over 1-2 weeks, then cooled. The result is less overall tannin, and a softer texture in the 2015 La Cote Rousse.
|Item Number||Unit||Units/Case||Type||UPC - bottle||SCC - case||SRP/Unit|
|W0EE323021SYL||750ml||12||Glass||7 84585 01557 3||1 07 84585 01557 0||$65.00|
"The 2016 Syrah La Cote Rousse is built around clone 99, all from Red Mountain, that saw 45% whole clusters in the fermentation. This cuvee, which is also moving more and more toward Ciel du Cheval, is 88% from this terrific site. It’s another inky purple colored red with a beautiful bouquet of black raspberries, toasted spice, dried herbs, and mineral aromas and flavors. Still tight, backward and reserved, yet with beautiful potential, this full-bodied, ripe, layered Syrah needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for 15+ years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018), 95+ pts
"The 2016 Syrah La Côte Rousse reveals notes of purple flowers, crunchy dark berry fruit and cracked pepper, followed by a medium-bodied, youthfully chewy but fine-grained palate that's bright and chalky. Taut and concentrated, it will require—and reward—some patience. - William Kelley"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 94+ pts
"Some much spice and mineral aromas here with hints of cloves and white pepper. Full body, ink and dark fruit and some black olives. A solid and chewy syrah with so much strength yet form. Give it two or three years after release."
- James Suckling (May 2018), 94 pts
"Tightly wound and trim, with blueberry, stony mineral and spice flavors that finish with a slight tannic grip. Best from 2021 through 2024. 400 cases made. –TF"
- Wine Spectator (August 2018), 90 pts
"The 2015 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a blockbuster Syrah from Red Mountain that’s from the Ranch at the End of The Road and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. It’s a mix of four different clones and is brought up in barrel. This deep, inky, seriously black Syrah gives up Hermitage-like notes of scorched earth, charred meats, graphite and licorice. It’s a big, concentrated effort that’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and keep through 2035. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #231, June 2017), 96 pts
"From the hot, windswept slopes of Red Mountain, the 2014 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a serious, tight, backwards effort that won’t be for those looking for instant gratification. Possessing classic Red Mountain red and black fruits, dried earth, pepper, dried spice and black olive characteristics, it’s full-bodied, beautifully textured, has flat out awesome purity and impeccable balance. Give it 4-5 years of cellaring and drink it over the following decade or so. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 96 pts
"A blend of four clones; from Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road; aged in 45% new oak. Bright dark ruby to the rim. Lovely precise aromas of boysenberry, violet, licorice, bitter chocolate, brown spices and roasted meat. A serious spine of acidity and tannins gives a penetrating quality and superb vinosity to the very intense dark berry and violet flavors. Finishes with big tongue-dusting tannins and outstanding purple-fruit intensity. Still quite youthfully imploded and built for a long life in bottle. - Stephen Tanzer"
- Vinous, (November 2015), 94+ pts
"Much more mineral driven than the La Serenne release, the 2013 Syrah la Cote Rousse comes all from Red Mountain and is always 100% Syrah. Like the other Syrahs here, it saw 11 months in barrel and won't be released until the fall of 2015. Exhibiting lots of blackberry, black raspberry, graphite, smoke and crushed rock, it's beautifully concentrated, has top-notch purity of fruit and a great finish. I love its mid-palate density, and while it has a lot of tannins, they're nicely integrated into the body of the wine. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2033. It should be one of the longest-lived Syrahs in the vintage."
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #219, June 2015), 95+ pts
"Aromas of iron, fresh-roasted coffee beans, high-toned dried herbs, mineral, blue fruit and savory spices explode from the glass. This wine coats the palate from end to end with supple, dense fruit and savory flavors that feel sleek but still show depth. The tannins bring some heft."
- Wine Enthusiast (March 2016), 93 pts
"Firm and chewy around a flavorful core that splits the difference between gorgeous blackberry and dark plum fruit, revealing savory notes of leather and wild plants. Best after 2020.—H.S"
- Wine Spectator's Insider (April 20th 2016), 91 points
"More mineral-driven, with savory spices, dried earth and floral notes balanced by a rocking core of fruit, the 2012 Syrah La Cote Rousse is more backwards and reticent than the La Serenne, and will need short-term cellaring to unwind. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration, high, yet sweet tannin, and a terrific finish, this awesome Syrah will be at its best from 2017-2027. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, (Issue 213, June 2014), 95 pts
"(from a crop level of two tons per acre, according to Betz; from a warm site in a warm vintage): Bright medium ruby. Subtle, slightly candied red berry and floral aromas convey a distinctly savory quality plus a suggestion of nutty oak. Then distinctly soil-driven in the mouth, with red raspberry and spice flavors joined by a saline quality and a strong impression of granitic minerality. And yet this wine boasts excellent energy and comes across as very young. The tannins are serious but broad and ripe and the finish is sweet and long. Again, this is very different in style from the more sinewy 2011 bottling but at an equally high level of quality—and potential. - Stephen Tanzer"
- Vinous (December 2014), 93+ pts
"This aromatically appealing wine brings aromas of blue fruit, barbecue briquettes, herbs, mineral and assorted spices. The fruit flavors are lithe yet intense, with a squeeze of tannins that lead to a supremely long finish."
- Wine Enthusiast (March 2015), 92 pts
"Always more structured and burly than the La Serenne, the 2011 Syrah La Cote Rousse is no exception and exhibits classic blackberry, currant, iron, wild herb and cracked pepper-like aromas and flavors to go with a medium to full-bodied, balanced and exceedingly pure mouthfeel. Also 100% Syrah, yet from the warmer Red Mountain AVA (which excelled in 2011), this elegant, yet concentrated Syrah will drink nicely for upwards of a decade. Drink now-2024+.- JD"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (2013), 92-95 pts
"(aged in 45% new oak): Bright ruby-red. Complex nose melds cranberry, licorice, minerals and smoke. Sappy, smooth and light on its feet, showing terrific lift to its sexy flavors of red berries, flowers, pepper and game. Youthfully sinewy and complex wine with a rising, perfumed finish showing great class. Really high-quality barrels here! Betz noted that he's now working to "take down the overall astringency of the wines through reduced skin contact, generally gentler extraction, and more seed removal." He explained: "Red Mountain fruit does not need any more seed phenolics."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Nov/Dec 2013), 92+pts
"(from a warmer site than the La Serenne): Bright red-ruby. Black raspberry, flowers, minerals and spices on the nose, plus a hint of black walnut that reminded me of Hermitage. Juicy on entry, then sinewy and penetrating in the middle, and clearly less pliant and sweet today than the La Serenne. The dark fruit and bitter chocolate flavors are supported by obvious Red Mountain structure. For all its power, the minerally, spicy, peppery finish displays very fine-grained tannins and lovely subtle persistence. Actually a bit higher in pH than the La Serenne but this is likely to need at least as much time in the cellar--say five or six years."
"Originating half each in Ranch at the End of the Road (source of this bottling’s first appearances in 1999 and 2000) and neighboring Ciel du Cheval (tapped since 2001) on Red Mountain, the Betz 2010 Syrah Le Cote Rousse features ripe but tart-edged dark cherry and plum accented by smoky, carnal, saline, mouthwateringly savory notes that (idiosyncratically, granted!) put me vividly in mind of pan scrapings from a roasting goose. This feels firmly tannic but that doesn’t keep it from displaying generous primary juiciness in a sustained finish. As with a number of wines tasted on this occasion, I’d be inclined to leave it in peace for a couple of years and then anticipate at least 6-8 years of bottle development. "
Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate (Issue #205), 92 pts