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.
Cailloux was Christophe’s first Walla Walla Valley vineyard. This 10-acre plot was planted in the stones of Milton Freewater in 1997.
Crimson in color. 15.3% ABV. Musky nose of red fruits, olive tapenade, iodine and grilled meats. Medium to full body with light acidity. Incredibly concentrated. Cherries, cherries and more cherries on the palate with blood, cabbage and game along for the ride. The finish is exceptionally long. Sometimes I feel like I am in a time warp with Christophe’s wines. This was fantastic on release when I first tried it, is fantastic after a decade in the bottle and will likely age well for the forseeable future. Drink over the next 2-4 years.
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! Earlier this year Christophe Baron finally made the cover of the Wine Spectator. Cayuse, Horsepower and No Girls are dialed in and Christophe has a new project and vineyard in the works. Expect to hear about Hors Categorie and Fiddleneck Vineyard in the next year or so.
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