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.
Blood red in color. A touch on the cloudy side. 14.6% ABV. Intriguing nose of red fruits, olive tapenade, coffee and spearmint. Medium to full bodied with exquisite acidity. Tightly wound and concentrated. Cherries, iodine, minerals and cracked pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. This particular vintage is long on cool dark fruits and short the trademark Cayuse funk. This should age really well. Best over the next 4-7 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!
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. Lastly, Christophe at long last announced the upcoming release of his first vintage Champagne. Champagne Christophe Baron. They are currently taking names for the mailing list.