One of the world’s great wineries, Cayuse Vineyards showcase the incredible gifts of Walla Walla wine pioneer, Christophe Baron and his assistant vigneronne, Elizabeth Bourcier. An amazing story in wine, famed vigneron, Christophe Baron, was the youngest heir of the famed Champagne house, Baron Albert and his ancestors had worked the land at Baron Albert since 1677. Christophe learned about harvests and wine a young boy and eventually studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne. After some travels he was drawn to the Willamette Valley, and was set on making great Pinot Noir. Following more travels he was eventually inspired by the stony terroir of Chateauneuf du Pape to purchase land outside of Walla Walla in Milton-Freewater. He planted his first vineyard in 1997 and the rest is history.
I recently had the great opportunity to sit down with Christophe and Elizabeth to sample their new lineup of wines. Many of his new releases came from the 2015 vintage, which saw some challenging weather and heat spikes. I was amazed with these new wines and how he was able to capture the degree of minerality and tension in the wines, despite the obvious challenges presented from the hot weather. The ability to perform no matter what conditions really shows the brilliance of Christophe and Elizabeth. One of the best wines I have had all year is the 2015 Cayuse Vineyards ‘God Only Knows’ Red Wine (WWB, 97) which has some Syrah blended in. This seductive one of a kind wine is simply irresistible right now, showing dazzling minerality and insane aromatic and flavor range. Thinking about this true heavyhitter makes my mouth water. Cayuse Vineyards produces one of the best white wines in Washington, the 2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Grenache (WWB, 94) which shows amazing viscosity and terroir. Learn more about these very special wines at https://cayusevineyards.com Here are the stunning new wines by Cayuse Vineyards.
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Viognier- The 2016 ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Viognier is truly one of the best white wines made in Washington. Sourced from the esteemed ‘Cailloux Vineyard,’ the wine starts with an incredible aromatic display of honeysuckle, lychee, white flowers and brandy soaked pear. The texture is silky and beautifully coats the mouthfeel. I just adore the viscosity of the wine that coats the glass. While the wine is viscous, it is not cloying once it reaches the attack. This shows wonderful mid-palate richness, showing complex stony character with a nice salinity. Banana, lychee, and ripe pear flavors follow and complete this fantastic bottling. This will cellar nicely for the next decade but is a delight to savor right now. Drink 2018-2028- 94
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Edith’ Rose- This Rose wine is sourced from blocks near the ‘God Only Knows Grenache’ in the Armada Vineyard. The Rose is actually named after Christophe’s favorite French singer. This warm vintage Rose weighs in at only 12.2% alcohol and was aged in both concrete and stainless steel. This starts off with aromas of white peach, red rose and red cherry candy with a touch of guava. There is a lighter stony quality to the nose that delights. A compete wine, this shows wonderful astringency and mouthfeel, as well as salinity. There is a great combination of citrus fruits, melon and red fruits on the palate with a wonderful long finish. I can imagine that this will cellar marvelously over the next decade as it will build wonderful tertiary notes. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2015 Cayuse Vineyards ‘God Only Knows’ Red Wine- Truly one of the best wines made in Washington, the 2015 ‘God Only Knows’ by Cayuse Vineyards is a stunning effort from this storied estate. The nose takes on some insanely impressive range, showing potpourri, white rose, white truffle, and Umami. Silky, showing an incredible mouthfeel, the wine reveals a wonderful combination of red and dark fruits. Silky smooth through the palate, there is an incredible purity of fruit with guava puree, wild blackberry, blood orange, wet stone, Umami and gobs of mouth-watering acidity. There is a wonderful combination of freshness and weight at play. A head-turner, this is best enjoyed in the last decade. Drink 2018-2028- 97
2015 Cayuse Vineyards ‘The Lovers’ Red Wine- The ‘Lovers’ is a token to Bordeaux who has previously blended in a touch of Syrah into their wines, which was finally discontinued in the 1960s. After some experimentation Christophe Baron has this wine shows best with roughly 15% Syrah blended in. The 2015 ‘The Lovers’ is a silky blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder Syrah. The smoky edge on the nose really entices with cassis, black olive tapenade and wet stone aromatics. The palate is silky smooth with light tannins. This shows good tension and salinity with wet stone, black raspberry liquor, black olive, black tea and Umami flavors coming in. Showing great tension, enjoy this fantastic wine over the next decade or so. Drink 2018-2028- 94
2015 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Armada Vineyard’ Syrah- The 2015 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Armada Vineyard’ Syrah is an absolutely spectacular effort from this warm vintage. This Syrah is sourced from what has evolved to be truly one of the top vineyards in the state, the Armada Vineyard, first planted in 2001. The Syrah begins with wonderfully perfumed aromatics of tar, Umami, black olive tapenade, smoked brisket, and peat moss that slowly build in the glass. The minerality strikes you instantly as the palate shows vivid flavors of bulls blood, wild mushroom, peat moss, Umami, blood orange rind and suggestions of Asian spice. Silky smooth through the mid-palate, this stunning wine will cellar well for the next decade or more. The mouth-watering acidity really entices you here as this is a beautiful effort by the superstar vigneron team of Christophe Baron and Elizabeth Bourcier. Drink 2018-2028- 95