Rocky hillside. Excellent sun exposure. Syrah heaven on Howell Mountain.

This impressive vineyard site is part of the St. Helena appellation, although it is located on the slopes of Howell Mountain outside of town. The Syrah block we pull from is a steep climb up the Conn Valley foothills between St. Helena and Lake Hennessey. The orientation of the vines scaling the hillside offers good sun exposure. The soils are restrictive clay and rock.

Syrah is at home here, especially when farmed by Jim Barbour and his talented crew, who understand that Syrah clusters and canopy need thinning to bring the fruit to full maturity. Walking the rows at harvest, it was evident the crop was in balance and the clusters smaller than you’re likely to see in most California Syrah vineyards, which means more concentrated flavors.

“The 2014 La Herradura is an early indicator of just how delicious the 2014 wines are going to be.”

—Jeff Ames

The 2014 is a more classic California Syrah than our previous vintages. The wine shows aromas of tar and dark black and blue fruits, with a floral element providing lift. On the palate this is full weight with super sweet, rich and round tannins. The finish rounds out to a full, complex and completely smooth exit.