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In a vintage that produced the finest overall lineup of Cayuse wines to date, it may seem a little nit-picky to score some higher and some lower. But the En Chamberlin deserves first place again. Brilliant aromatics of smoked meat, bacon fat…
Smoky evocations of peat and black tea along with pungent, well-hung gaminess are what first tweak the nose from Baron’s 2009 Syrah En Chamberlin Vineyard, followed by high-toned candied lemon and orange rind; bittersweet distilled floral essences; and evocations of kirsch and framboise eau de vie, a wealth of aromatic constituents that may well arise from the relative coolness and long hang time of this site. Bourcier suggests that there might be something about the 2009 growing season that particularly favors this vineyard, and it sure tastes that way to me! Its soaring and penetrating smoky and high-toned intensity seems to billow across the palate, where dark cherry and plum preserves mingle with marrowy rich meaty savor. Salt and crystalline impingements so vivid one seldom associates their like with red wine, lead to a finish that leaves my mouth tingling and my salivary glands helplessly stuck wide-open. (“Long hang time:” could have been a reference to my tongue on Chamberlin.) Above all, this wine is just plain mysterious, not only in the intrigue of its flavors, but in engendering wonder as to how it manages to taste as it does. Baron’s response to that thought is (no doubt but half in jest): “The monks and nuns of Cayuse need their own thousand years to figure that out!” Follow at least one or two bottles – assuming you’re lucky enough for this to be possible – well into their second decade.
"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.
As the #1 back-vintage retailer in the US, Benchmark Wine Group prides itself on being a trusted source for the greatest wines in the world. Their unparalleled market knowledge and exceptional service have come together to provide the most accessible cellar of rare and sought-after wines with a guarantee.