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.
Dark red in color. 13.4% ABV. Textbook Cayuse nose of smoke, olive brine and minerals. Medium body with strong acidity. Powerful with towering structure and concentration in spades. Black cherry, plums, barbecued meats and white pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. So very compelling and unique. Best over the next 3-5 years.
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, now know as Bionic Wines, 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.
The last two Cayuse Release Weekends have been cancelled due to the pandemic. I do hope the 2023 version happens in early April and I definitely plan to partake in the festivities.
I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2020 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings, Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5 and Cayuse Vineyards – Better than Ever.