There is a lot of fascinating Oregon wine beyond Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, and the Cowhorn Syrah is a Southern Oregon wine that stands as a perfect example. If you are wondering about the name of the winery, it is a tribute to one of the practices of biodynamic farming that the winery employs. A holistic agricultural system (with a dash of mysticism) derived from the teachings of Rudolph Steiner, one part of biodynamics calls for cowhorns to be filled with dung and buried in the vineyards. This provides a nurturing preparation for the soil. Though biodynamics remains a favorite topic for all involved in the wine industry to debate, it's hard to argue against it when the results in the bottle are so fantastic.
The Cowhorn Syrah has a savoriness and elegance that recalls the the style of this grape produced in my favorite part of the world for Syrah, France's Northern Rhone. And though elegant, this is no dainty red. It has concentration and richness, without bludgeoning you over the head with oak or jammy flavors. It's beautifully balanced and delicious, with serious "wow" factor.
For more on biodynamic wine in Oregon, check out Voodoo Vintners.
Full disclosure: I tasted this wine while on a trip sponsored by the Oregon Wine Board.