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.
Blood red in color. 14.6% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, olive tapenade, grilled meats and minerals. Medium to full bodied with ample acidity. Trademark Cayuse funk all over the palate. Flavors of cherry, blood, umami and cracked black pepper. Exceptional length on the finish. Several years ago the Viognier co-fermented in this wine really stood out. Not so much now but still a stunning bottle of Syrah. Best over the next year or so.
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. I have a magnum on order. More to come here later.