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. Savory nose of olive tapenade, barbecued meats and smoke. Medium body with perfect acidity. Impressive concentration and balance. Cherries, olive brine, saline and cracked black pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Just a stunning Armada that is showing brilliantly at ten years of age. Best over the next 2-3 years.
My rating: 96 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.