More than 10 years ago a Frenchman, Christophe Baron, decended on a relatively unknown subregion outside of Walla Walla that is today known as ‘The Rocks.’ But the story starts at Christophe’s life, as a child, walking in his family vineyard with his father and grandfather. Christophe was the youngest of the centuries-old Champagne house, Baron Albert, and his ancestors had worked the land since 1677. As he grew older, Christophe studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne and was drawn to the Willamette Valley, with its closeness to the terroir driven Pinots of Burgundy. Christophe spent some time traveling the world before purchasing some land outside of Walla Walla and planting in 1997.
At the time no one had planted Syrah grapes in this Rocks region, characterized by small stones that reminded Christophe of Chateauneuf du Pape in the southern Rhone region of France. He first vineyard planted, called the Cailloux Vineyard, a10-acre plot in the stones of Milton Freewater. A year later he planted the Coccinelle Vineyard a 4.5-acre plot in which the Bionic Frog Syrah is produced from. The same year saw Christophe plant the En Cerise Vineyard which is the source for the Flying Pig and Camaspelo Bordeaux blends. Christophe continued planting vineyards in 2000, planting the En Chamberlin Vineyard, set on 10 stony acres and the source of The Widowmaker Cabernet-Sauvignon, Impulsivo Tempranillo and En Chamberlin Syrah. Finally, in 2001 the last vineyard was planted, the Armada Vineyard, which is the source for the Armada Vineyard Syrah, God Only Knows Grenache and Edith Grenache Rosé.
No Girls Winery is an offshoot of Cayuse, created by Christophe Baron and Elizabeth Bourcier, who have worked together since the first release of No Girls in 2008. The style of winemaking that is attempts to focus on the unique terroir of the La Paciencia Vineyard. The La Paciencia (patience) vineyard was planted between 2003 and 2005, near the Armada vineyard, and the first couple of vintages of wine were declassified. The name ‘No Girls’ is connected with the history of Walla Walla. Christophe purchased a building in 2002 that was a former brothel. In his new building, Christohe noticed the words ‘No Girls’ painted on the wall— and the wine label is an actual photograph.
No Girls wines are very difficult to find but recently my good friend and famous Seattle oral surgeon, Dr. Jae Hong, recently granted me and some others the opportunity to try the 2010 No Girls ‘La Paciencia Vineyard’ Grenache. I was hugely impressed with these terroir driven examples of Rhone varietals. There is a wonderful sense of terroir with these wines as they would almost pass for a fantastic mineral driven Chateauneuf du Pape with the wine’s minerality and weight.
No Girls wines are wine club only but sometimes you can find them at specialty shops. You can also find them online at wine.com and klwines.com. Here is my review for the 2010 No Girls ‘La Paciencia Vineyard’ Grenache:
2010 No Girls ‘La Paciencia Vineyard’ Grenache- The La Paciencia (patience) vineyard vines are tightly spaced and planted on an angle. Originally planted between 2003 and 2005, near the Armada vineyard, the first few vintages of grapes from this vineyard were declassified. This cool vintage wine opens with prototypical Walla Walla rocks aromas of wet stone, mushroom, lavender and orange peel. There are flavors of red raspberry garrigue, Bing cherry, cran-orange and provencale herbs. This mineral driven wine has exquisite texture and a finish that lingers. This is drinking in its sweet spot. Drink 2015-2028- 95