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 and just starting to fade slightly at the edge of the glass. 14.6% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, blood, iodine and grilled meats all complemented by an amazing floral component. Medium body with light to medium acidity. Supple and silky on the palate. Flavors of cherries, pepper, olive brine and smoke. The finish is absolutely exquisite. Like most Cayuse wines there just aren’t enough superlatives to do the wine justice. Drink over the next 3-5 years.
My rating: 95 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! Last 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.
I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.
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