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, the 7-acre site, 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.
Blood red in color with some bricking at the edge of the glass. 14.2% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, ash and olive brine. Medium body with ample acidity. Incredibly supple and smooth. Cherries, umami, green olives and pepper on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and seamless. In a great spot right now with resolved tannins and enough fruit to keep things interesting. I’d be inclined to drink over the next 1-2 years.
My rating: 93 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 make some of the top wines in Washington. Christophe recently launched a new project, Hors Categorie. Lastly, Christophe at long last is hard at work on making a vintage Champagne. Details on this project are a year or so out.