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. Syrah co-fermented with Viognier. Spellbinding nose of red fruits, olives, smoke and flowers. Medium body with perfect acidity. Rich and concentrated. Cherries, olive brine, game and minerals on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. I drink most of my Cayuse Syrah in the 7-10 year window but inevitably they seem like they could age longer. This version of Cailloux really feels like it is in the perfect place right now though.
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!
The Christophe Baron portfolio, known as Bionic Wines, includes Cayuse, Horsepower , No Girls, 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.
I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2020 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings, Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5 and Cayuse Vineyards – Better than Ever.