A Washington wine that has the ‘wow’ factor, the Cayuse ‘God Only Knows’ Grenache is truly one of a kind. Cayuse Vineyards was founded by Walla Walla wine pioneer, Christophe Baron, who was the youngest heir of the famed Champagne house, Baron Albert. Christophe’s ancestors had worked the land at Baron Albert 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 in Milton-Freewater, and first planted his vines in 1997. He made a wonderful decision to plant in the stony terroir outside of Walla Walla. His wine has gained international acclaim since first bursting onto the Washington wine scene. In 2001 the Armada Vineyard was planted, which is the source for the 'Armada Vineyard' Syrah, 'Edith' Grenache Rosé and the 'God Only Knows' Grenache. In my opinion the Cayuse ‘God Only Knows’ Grenache is one of the best wines made in Washington state.
It is hard to describe the new, 2012 release of the ‘God Only Knows’ Grenache because the wine is so extraordinary. As I sipped the wine over an hour, more and more layers of fruit and non-fruit flavors developed. It is truly an experience for the senses. When I last visited Cayuse in the spring, I had the chance to sample their 2009 ‘God Only Knows’ Grenache. Both of these wines are at different points in their development. While both vintages were spectacular, comparing the 2009 wine with the 2012, I would say that the ’09 leans towards slightly richer red fruit and non-fruit profiles, showing slightly less of a pretty-feminine side. While some critics have concern about aging wines from the Walla Walla Rocks region, the ’09 ‘God Only Knows’ has aged gracefully. The 2012 ‘God Only Knows’ Grenache is a stunner. The range of flavors and aromatics are breathtaking as these are near perfection in a bottle. Both wines display an incredible purity of fruit that is unparalleled in Washington Grenache. Sadly, these wines are incredibly difficult to procure. I highly recommend that you try to find these online, as wine shops sell them, as Cayuse wines are typically only available through their mailing list (long wait list currently) or online wine shops. There are great special occasion bottles that are sure to impress. Learn more about Cayuse at https://cayusevineyards.com/static/ Here are my reviews of the 2009 and 2012 ‘God Only Knows’ Grenache by Cayuse Vineyards.
2009 Cayuse 'God Only Knows Vineyard' Grenache- This wine was sourced from the Armada vineyard and was cropped at a mere 1.5 tons per acre. This is one of the most memorable wines that I have sampled in the past year. This expressive Grenache wine opens bright and intense aromas of red cherry, red raspberry, lavender and blood orange with wet gravel. There are deep flavors of pink bubble gum, crushed wet rock, red cherry, red raspberry and sea salt. This is intense and incredible wine that is out of this world delicious. Words make it nearly impossible to express the level of complexity and intensity to the wine. Drink 2016-2028- 99
2012 Cayuse 'God Only Knows' Grenache- The 2012 Cayuse 'God Only Knows' Grenache is an ethereal wine by this estate. This incredible wine has a classic Walla Walla stony nose. There are deep aromatics of sage, rose petals, crushed wet rock, lavender, red cherry, red raspberry and blood orange. The range of flavors at play is tremendous. In the glass there are slow developing enticing flavors of red raspberry, Unami, Shitake mushroom, crushed wet rock, boysenberry, pomegranate seed and crushed white wildflowers. This Grenache becomes even richer and aromatically present following a two hour decant. The minute long finish is astonishing, while the structure of the wine makes it nearly impossible to resist. Simply put, this is nothing short of a scintillating release by Christophe Baron that shows incredible tension, minerality and richness in this near perfect vintage. Drink 2016-2030- 99