Cayuse was founded in 1997 by Christophe Baron, a native of France who grew up in family of winemakers in Champagne. Baron studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne, and had ambitions to make Pinot Noir in Oregon. However, on a visit to Walla Walla he found property that he believed would be perfect for growing grapes and decided to purchase the land.
Armada Vineyard was planted in 2001. At 1815 vines per acre, this 16-acre vineyard, was the highest density planting in the Walla Walla Valley until 2008. Besides the Armada Vineyard Syrah, notable wines include the God Only Knows Grenache and Edith Grenache Rosé.
Deep purple in color. 14.2% ABV. Complex nose of dark fruits, campfire, olive brine and game. Medium body with medium acidity. Great grip on the palate. Fresh and vibrant. In the mouth there is an explosion of black cherries, white pepper, olive tapenade and smoked meats. Modest tannins on an exceptionally long finish. Drink over the next several years. Another winner from Christophe Baron.
My rating: 96 points.
The waiting list for the Cayuse mailing list is huge and you need to be well-connected to get a bottle via retail. Either way, current vintages are worth the hunt!
I’ve wrote about Cayuse previously in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.
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