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.
Bright crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. Co fermented with 7% Viognier. Savory nose of red fruits, flowers, blood and white pepper. Medium body with medium acidity. Dense, powerful and concentrated. Throwing a touch of sediment. Cherries, iron, olives and barbecued meat on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. More finesse and less funk than I have grown accustomed to from Cayuse. Exceptional Syrah nonetheless. Drink over the next 4-6 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!
Last year Christophe Baron finally made the cover of the Wine Spectator. Cayuse, Horsepower and No Girls make some of the top wines in Washington. Christophe recently launched a new project, Hors Categorie. Christophe also has a new vineyard in the works. Expect to hear more about Fiddleneck Vineyard in the next year or so. Lastly, Christophe at long last is hard at work on making a vintage Champagne. Details on this project are still a couple years out.