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.
En Cerise literally translated means cherry which is appropriate since this 10-acre vineyard planted in 1998 was a cherry orchard in its former life. En Cerise Vineyard Syrah and grapes for the Flying Pig and Camaspelo Bordeaux blends are grown here.
Magenta in color. 14.1% ABV. Sublime nose of cherries, blood, olive brine and grilled meats. Immense, concentrated Syrah that glides across the palate. Just the right amount of acidity. Flavors of smoke, iodine, cabbage and iron. The finish is crazy long. An iron fist in a velvet glove. Drink over the next 4-6 years.
My rating: 97 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.
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