When Christophe Baron speaks, everyone listens. Last night we had the unique opportunity to relish in a very special tasting, put on by special guest, Christophe Baron. Christophe is, of course, the founder of Cayuse Vineyards, one of the top producers of Syrah and Grenache in North America. The wines have incredible verve, tension and stony character, as vines struggle incredibly under intense pressure from the stones.
Christophe talked about his story in wine and presented a number of aged wines from his vineyards. They were all aging marvelously and were a delight to savor, all showing stony terroir but very different nuances. Two of the wines were from cold vintages in Walla Walla, 2010 and 2011. To this day I think nobody does a better job in Washington cold vintages than Christophe Baron. I have been completely blown away with the wines that he produced in these two vintages — particular the quality coming from the highly challenging 2011 vintage which was the coldest vintage in history. Christophe has an incredible farming background and talked about how he approached the challenges of the 2011 vintage. The resultant wine is one that exudes incredible tension while maintaining wonderful intensity and richness. The wine is unlike any other made from this vintage. The 2011 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Bionic Frog’ Syrah has incredibly rich and inky color. Judging from the color it is downright shocking that the wine comes from this cold vintage. The wine itself has incredible stony character, starting Chateauneuf du Pape right in the face.
A legendary bottle, the 2012 Cayuse Vineyards’ God Only Knows’ Red Wine, the Washington Wine Blog 2016 Wine of the Year, is a stunning blend of Grenache with a touch of what Christophe notes ‘God Only Knows.’ While I guess it is Syrah added, this is a silky wine with unparalleled range from Washington Grenache. Speaking to Christophe about the wine, he talked about the incredible tension to the wine. This is truly a one of a kind bottling that is drinking in its sweet spot. The texture and citrus components to the wine along with the red fruits and umami are just delicious at this juncture.
Also enjoyed was a show-stopping Cabernet, the 2010 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Widowmaker’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Coming from a cold vintage, this rich and beautifully textured wine is also drinking right in its sweet spot. I would enjoy this awesome wine in the next few years. Finally, we finished our tasting with the decadent and intense 2013 Horsepower Vineyards ‘The Tribe’ Syrah. The smoky and meaty character to the wine was apparent as was the horse manure and wet stone nuances. This wine showed even more intensity than the other wines, coming from a warm vintage in Walla Walla. A show-stopper, this wine is young and can continue to be enjoyed over the next five to ten years. However, it is drinking so beautifully right now in all it is downright impossible to resist right now. Learn more about these incredible wineries at https://cayusevineyards.com/static/ and https://nogirlswine.com/nogirls/ as well as https://horsepowervineyards.com/horsepowervineyards/