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.
At 1815 vines per acre, the 7-acre Armada Vineyard, created in 2001, was the highest density planting in the Walla Walla Valley until 2008. Other wines from the vineyard include the God Only Knows Grenache and Edith Grenache Rosé.
Maroon in color. 14.2% ABV. Sensational nose of fresh flowers, saline, ash and cherries. Fresh, yet savory, with medium acidity and resolved tannins. Cherries, cabbage, olive brine and grilled meats on the palate. Rich and concentrated with a strong finish. Stunning Syrah and textbook Cayuse. Drink over the next 1-2 years.
My rating: 94 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 wrote about Cayuse recently in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.
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