Benchmark Wines By
Cayuse Vineyards

Tasting Notes


Using grapes sourced entirely from the En Chamberlin Vineyard, this pure Cabernet is deep, dark, focused and tight, with firm but velvety tannins and a perfect mix of cassis, coffee and earth. Even more than previous years, this vintage displays astonishing depth and power. Flavors of Serrano ham and other cured meats, plus a delicate saltiness and minerality keep the flavors developing onto the long, fascinating finish. Cellar Selection.


The Cayuse 2009 Widowmaker – as usual, from the year 2000 plantings in the deeply gravelly En Chamberlin – was raised in just under half new barrels, whereas in 2005 and 2006 it was 80%. Juniper berry, cedar, and cassis catch the nose’s attention; then inform a rich, polished, subtly-oily palate. A suggestion of crushed stone – though not, to be sure, the refined texture and tannins on display here – certainly fits Baron’s quip that “this is like riding over a gravel road.” Tactile sizzle of baking spices; smoky Latakia tobacco; and piquant huckleberry all add to the intensity, grip, and complexity of a powerfully persistent finish. This looks likely to reward considerable cellaring and perform well for more than a decade.

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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

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.