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. 13.8% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, olive brine, gamy meats and bacon fat. Medium body with medium to strong acidity. Cayuse funk in spades. Cherries, smoked meats, coffee and minerals on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Delicious Syrah. Perhaps slightly more funk than I expect from Cailloux and not quite as good as a 12 I opened last month. Best over the next 3-5 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!
The Christophe Baron portfolio includes Cayuse, Horsepower , No Girls and Hors Categorie and Champagne Christophe Baron. I am not sure what is next on the horizon for Christophe but I look forward to being a part of it.