Benchmark Wines By
Cayuse Vineyards


Tasting Notes

WA95

The Cayuse 2009 Grenache Armada Vineyard God Only Knows (named for the otherwise unspecified roughly 10% share of this that he claims isn’t Grenache) was cropped at only a ton and a half per acre (ca. 20 hectoliters per hectare) because, as Baron puts it, “we are struggling every year just to get Grenache ripe. But we love it for the challenge,” he hastens to add. “Even a monkey can make a great Syrah, but Grenache , We’ve got 7 acres of this grape now,” compared with more or less 25 of Syrah, he reports, commenting: “You’ve got to be crazy!” Fresh strawberry and elderberry are tinged with birch bark extract, black tea, and basil, making for an aromatically intriguing and lip-smacking palate presence. An upwelling of beef marrow and a Syrah- (or Gewurztraminer-) like hint of smoked meat add to the wine’s saliva-inducing savor. Here is a really vivid illustration of how the best Washington wines offer nearly luxuriant richness and sweet berry intensity but at the same time exhilarating vibrancy and lift. And, true to Baron’s repeatedly stated intentions, there are – beyond salt, stone, and smoky aura of black tea – elements impinging on this wine’s superbly sustained finish that can only be called “mineral,” even if one can’t find further words for them. I suspect this will be worth following for at least a decade. Incidentally, the wine was vinified in concrete and then aged in demi-muids plus one concrete egg. Apropos controlling alcohol and enhancing ripe flavors (for more on which, see my winery introduction), this beauty clocked in at what – in comparison with other recent vintages – counts as a modest 14.3%, despite its warm growing season; yet as you can tell from my description, there’s nothing under-ripe about its performance!


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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.

www.cayusevineyards.com



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