One of the true wine pioneers of North America, Cayuse Vineyards started with an incredible discovery by Christophe Baron in the stony lands of Milton-Freewater. Butt this story really begins in France as eminent vigneron, Christophe Baron, was the youngest heir of the famed Champagne house, Baron Albert. Christophe’s 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. While tasting with Christophe and his vigneronne, Elizabeth Bourcier, I couldn’t help but think that this might be the best overall lineup in Cayuse wines that I had tasted. I was absolutely blown away with his new release wines — particularly the consistency of his new Syrah wines.
One of the great wines that I have tried in the past year, the 2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Bionic Frog’ Syrah (WWB, 98) is a scintillating and rich bottling, that combines incredible texture, verve and aromatics as well as flavor range. This one of a kind Syrah is simply magical in its youth. Right up there was the 2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Syrah (WWB, 97) which has a small percentage of Viognier co-fermented and is absolutely captivating with its Umami, smoked meats and citrus tones. One of the great white wines made in North America that I have tried over the past year, the 2017 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Cailloux VIneyard’ Viognier (WWB, 95) deftly walks the tight rope between tension and richness in the glass for this special varietal. These are very special new wines that any serious wine collector of Pacific Northwest wines will not want to miss. Learn more about this magical new lineup at https://cayusevineyards.com Here are the stunning new wines by Cayuse Vineyards.
2017 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Viognier- The 2017 ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Viognier was aged in concrete eggs and stainless steel prior to bottling. The nose shows very pretty aromas with white flowers and shades of honeydew melon with nutmeg that all hit the nose. The texture is silky smooth as the wine glides across the mid-palate. The freshness is gorgeous as the wine reveals cantaloupe, kiwi, starfruit and shades of brioche on the palate. This is stunning, ageworthty Viognier. Drink 2019-2029- 95
2017 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Edith’ Rose- Sourced from four rows of Grenache which is grown for Rose, the wine was whole cluster pressed prior to bottling and the wine is kept for another year due to the wine being unfiltered. The wine was aged in both concrete eggs and stainless steel prior to bottling. The nose is very perfumed and pretty red rose, wild strawberry with shades of wild mushroom and orange rind that all mingle nicely in the glass. The texture here is silky smooth as the wine seamlessly glides across the mid-palate. Bright guava and strawberry flavors mingle with wonderful peat moss, wet stone and melon tones all fill the palate. This is Grenache Rose at its finest. Drink 2019-2025- 93
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Flying Pig’ Red Wine- The 2016 ‘Flying Pig’ is a stunning blend of 49% Merlot with 40% Cabernet Franc and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon that was all aged in oak puncheons prior to bottling. Bright red cherry with Hoisin sauce, red bell pepper with white pepper and wet stone all impress on the nose. There is an incredible sense of balance on the mid-palate as the wine reveals wild blackberry, kirsch, wet stone and shades of green peppercorn with Umami on the palate. The freshness and richness of the wine is gorgeous. Highly refined and satisfying in its youth, this true heavyhitter of a wine will age gracefully for another decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 95
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘The Lovers’ Red Wine- The 2016 ‘The Lovers’ is a stunning blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder Syrah. The wine was aged in a combination of 1500L oak barrels and oak demi-nuides (40% new) prior to bottling. The wine imparts gorgeous black fruits that mingle with Umami, licorice and shades of white truffle that all shine in the glass. The freshness and texture of the wine is simply outstanding. The bright salinity of the wine makes you salivate as ripe red cherry, wild blackberry and shades of black truffle and seaweed flavors all shine brightly on the palate. While outstanding now, this will evolve well for another decade. Drink 2019-2029- 95
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Camaspelo’ Red Wine- The 2016 ‘Camaspelo’ is a proprietary blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and a touch of Tempranillo that impresses from this exciting vintage. The ‘Camaspelo’ shows wet gravel with black currant, with cigar box and shades of white pepper on the nose. Highly elegant in the mid-palate the wine reveals wonderful Umami with white pepper, wild mushroom, with shades of blackberry and tar on the palate. While outstanding upon release, this outstanding Cabernet based wine will continue to shine for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 95
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘The Widowmaker En Chamberlin Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvingon- The 2016 ‘The Widowmaker’ is a gorgeous new bottling by superstar vigneron Christophe Baron. Shades of black tea with Asian spices and black truffle collide with blackberry jam all mingle brightly on the nose. The freshness here is gorgeous as the wine unveils silky tannins that march with dark fruits, black truffle shavings, leather and pipe tobacco and smoky undertones. Lithe and light on its feet, this has wonderful firmness and tension as this elegant wine will cellar well over the next decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 96
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Syrah- The 2016 ‘Caiilloux Vineyard’ Syrah is a simply magical new wine by superstar vigneron Christophe Baron. First made in 1998, this wine was first named ‘Cobblestone Vineyard’ Syrah. The wine has 4% Viognier co-fermented. The nose is hedonistic and downright intoxicating with smoked meats, bacon fat, Umami, green peppercorn and shades of horse manure that all shine brightly on the nose. The freshness and minerality imparted is simply stunning. Wet stone mingles with shades of tar, red cherry candy, green olive tapenade and shades of seaweed with Mandarin orange wine all sing on the palate. The exceedingly long finish lingers. The combination of richness and tension in the wine is simply unparalleled. While a delight to savor nw, this will evolve well another decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 97
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘En Cerise Vineyard’ Syrah- The ‘En Cerise Vineard’ Syrah is a simply stunning new wine by Cayuse Vineyards. 100% Syrah, this shows incredible focus with salted ham, Umami, black cherry compote and green peppercorn aromas. The palate is exceedingly delightful with black pepper, Umami, licorice, dark cherry compote and shades of Kalmata olive tapenade. Stunning now, this soft and silky textured wine will provide drinking enjoyment for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 97
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘En Chamberlin Vineyard’ Syrah- The ‘En Chamberlin Vineyard’ was planted on July 4th 2004 and is the first vines in this region to be planted with phylloxera resistant rootstock. This Syrah by Cayuse Vineyards shows amazing charcuterie aromas that build with shades of leather, bacon fat, bulls blood, Umami and shades of anise that all collide in the glass. The texture to this wine is gorgeous as racy acidity and a stunning salinity runs through the wine. Blackberry cobbler mingle with shades of bulls blood, Umami, salted meats and black truffle on the palate. Refined and highly gratifying now, this beautiful Syrah will evolve well for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 97
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Bionic Frog’ Syrah- The 2016 ‘Bionic Frog’ by superstar vigneron Christophe Baron is a monumental new wine from this storied estate. On the nose this takes on green peppercorn with horse manure, bacon fat, licorcice and shades of white truffle shavings on this downright seductive nose. The palate slowly unveils a silky mouthfeel that entices. The brightness and salinity of the wine literally makes you salivate as this shows off green olive tapenade, charcuterie, fennel, and shades of wild blackberry all sing marvelously together. Seamless and downright marvelous in its youth, this scintillating new wine will cellar well for another decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 98
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Armada Vineyard’ Syrah- The ‘Armada Vineyard’ Syrah is another stunning Cayuse Syrah which was aged in 10% new demi-nuides for 22 months prior to bottling. Christophe Baron first planted this iconic vineyard in 2001. The nose shows incredible Hoisin sauce, seaweed and black fruits that collide with bright floral and Mandarin orange rind tones on the nose. The palate shows gobs of mouth-watering salinity and minerality with charcuterie with incredible freshness and tension int he wine. Compact and refined, this stunning new release dances on the mouth, leading to the exceedingly long finish. Outstanding in its youth, this will cellar well for another decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 97
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Wallah Wallah Special’ Syrah (1.5L)- The ‘Wallah Wallah Special’ Syrah is a blend of a host of estate vineyards by Cayuse Vineyards. The nose is downright intoxicating with wet stone, black truffle shavings, seaweed and shades of white pepper with peat moss tones that all round out this stunning bouquet. The palate shows tremendous freshness and tension with a silky mouthfeel. Red cherry candy, asphalt, licorice, Parma ham, white truffle shavings and shades of wet stone all mingle on the palate. This is a complete wine and I can’t imagine how beautiful this would be with duck l’orange. While beautiful now this will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 97
2016 Cayuse Vineyards ‘Impulsivo En Chamberlin Vineyard’ Tempranillo- This wine sees a touch more of new French oak (50%) prior to bottling. Aromatically intense, the wine unveils black tea, exotic spices, smoked meats with dried tarragon and blackberry pie that all mingle on the nose. The salinity of this wine is just insanely good as the wine slowly unveils bright black fruits that mingle with Satsuma orange zest, licorice and light peat moss with black truffle shaving tones on the palate. Satisfying and rich on the mouth, this stunning wine is truly one of the best of its kind in North America. Drink 2019-2029- 95