Benchmark Wines By
Cayuse Vineyards

Tasting Notes


Dark and smoky, this wine is relatively tannic and emphasizes flavors of leaf, bark, root and herb. There's plenty of depth and exceptional power to this wine, which seems unique among New World Tempranillos. Cellar Selection


Baron's 2009 Impulsivo – from his En Chamberlin vineyard, partly fermented and entirely aged in 70% new 600-liter casks – is scented with smoky cigar ash and tar, supplemented by beet root, and licorice, that collectively instantly give away its being Tempranillo. After the high-toned aromatics, textural refinement, dynamic interplay, and diverse allusions to things mineral that nearly all other 2009 Cayuse offerings had in common, it's a bit difficult coming to terms with something as opaque and massive as this wine, which at one and the same time displays creaminess yet also underlying tannic grit. (So I hope I haven't under-estimated it on account of tasting context.) Saliva-inducing salinity is, thankfully, another Cayuse common denominator on exhibit here and adds enormous appeal to a finish almost dour in its dense, smoky, metaphorically darkly-hued, palate-staining persistence. I suspect that this will reward more than a decade in bottle.

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Cayuse Vineyards brand image

The Winery

Cayuse Vineyards

"Cayuse is no longer a secret and it may be America’s toughest mailing list to crack....but do whatever it takes to get your hands on a few of these gems."
- Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

Cayuse Vineyard’s winemaker, Christopher Baron, a Champagne native, raised by a family of vignerons, had a hankering for somewhere perfect to plant Pinot Noir. He traveled all over the world to find his ideal site, and he found a neglected cherry orchard in Walla Walla, Washington that was littered with stones. These baseball size stones covering the soil reminded him of Châteauneuf-du-Pape changing his dream to plant Syrah.

Now, his five specific vineyards cover 41 acres produce mainly Syrah along with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Roussanne, Tempranillo and Viognier. Now owning three brands: Cayuse, Horsepower, and No Girls, all wines are made from each estate vineyard that practices bio. These are some of the most highly sought-after, professional palate impressing wines ever to come out of Washington.

Rare Wines, Serious Collectors

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