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.
Crimson in color. 13.4% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, olive brine, barbecued meats and flowers. Medium body with ample acidity. Lithe and light with sneaky concentration that seems to build with time in the glass. Cherries, plums, roasted herbs and cracked black pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. A unique Armada in the context of other recent vintages. I think this would have shown even better had I let it spend a couple hours in a decanter. I’ll keep that in mind with my next few bottles. Best over the next 2-4 years.
My rating: 94 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.