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Posts tagged ‘Cayuse’

2008 Cayuse Syrah En Cerise Vineyard – Bottle Notes

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.

En Cerise literally translated means cherry which is appropriate since this 10-acre vineyard planted in 1998 was a cherry orchard in its former life. En Cerise Vineyard Syrah and grapes for the Flying Pig and Camaspelo Bordeaux blends are grown here.

Magenta in color. 14.1% ABV. Sublime nose of cherries, blood, olive brine and grilled meats. Immense, concentrated Syrah that glides across the palate. Just the right amount of acidity. Flavors of smoke, iodine, cabbage and iron. The finish is crazy long. An iron fist in a velvet glove. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 97 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 are dialed in and Christophe has a new project and vineyard in the works. Expect to hear about Hors Categorie and Fiddleneck Vineyard in the next year or so.

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.

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2007 Cayuse Syrah Cailloux Vineyard – Bottle Notes

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.

Crimson in color and just starting to fade slightly at the edge of the glass. 14.6% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, blood, iodine and grilled meats all complemented by an amazing floral component. Medium body with light to medium acidity. Supple and silky on the palate. Flavors of cherries, pepper, olive brine and smoke. The finish is absolutely exquisite. Like most Cayuse wines there just aren’t enough superlatives to do the wine justice. Drink 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! Last year Christophe Baron finally made the cover of the Wine Spectator. Cayuse, Horsepower and No Girls are dialed in and Christophe has a new project and vineyard in the works. Expect to hear about Hors Categorie and Fiddleneck Vineyard in the next year or so.

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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2007 Lillian Syrah – Bottle Notes

Maggie Harrison was assistant winemaker to Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non for eight years before moving to Oregon to take over the wine making position at Antica Terra. Lillian Winery, founded in 2004, represents Maggie’s personal project and reflects everything that she learned during her time at Sine Qua Non.

The fruit for the Lillian Syrah comes from the White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. The 77 acre vineyard was planted in 1997.

Opaque purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Sublime nose of blueberries, coffee, grilled meats and black olives. Rich, complex and smooth as silk. Full bodied with medium acidity. Black cherry, blueberry liqueur, cassis and charred meats on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long. Absolutely prodigious Syrah. Another brilliant wine from Maggie Harrision. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 95 points.

Lillian belongs in the discussion of best domestic syrahs with the likes of Cayuse, Saxum and the aforementioned Sine Qua Non.

The wine is available via the web site once a year and current vintages run about $75. The 2014 was recently released to the mailing list and will likely be available at retail in Portland in the coming months.

I recently blogged about Lillian forgoing their mailing list which is great news for those of you looking to secure a few bottles.

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2006 Cayuse Syrah Cailloux Vineyard – Bottle Notes

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.

Crimson in color. 15.3% ABV. Musky nose of red fruits, olive tapenade, iodine and grilled meats. Medium to full body with light acidity. Incredibly concentrated. Cherries, cherries and more cherries on the palate with blood, cabbage and game along for the ride. The finish is exceptionally long. Sometimes I feel like I am in a time warp with Christophe’s wines. This was fantastic on release when I first tried it, is fantastic after a decade in the bottle and will likely age well for the forseeable future. Drink over the next 2-4 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! Earlier this year Christophe Baron finally made the cover of the Wine Spectator. Cayuse, Horsepower and No Girls are dialed in and Christophe has a new project and vineyard in the works. Expect to hear about Hors Categorie and Fiddleneck Vineyard in the next year or so.

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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2010 Reynvaan Syrah The Unnamed – Bottle Notes

Reynvaan Family Vineyards is a small family owned winery started by Mike and Gale Reynvaan in May of 2004 in Walla Walla, Washington. They initially purchased a 37 acre parcel of land on Cottonwood Road at the base of the Blue Mountains. Their son Matt is the winemaker and Christophe Baron of Cayuse has served as a consultant. Reynvaan Family Vineyards is dedicated to creating fine wines exclusively from the terroir of Walla Walla Valley.

The Unnamed Syrah is co-fermented with 4% Grenache Blanc and is sourced from the In the Rocks Vineyard in Milton-Freewater.

Blood red in color. 14.7% ABV. Reticent nose of red fruits, olive brine, smoke and iron. Full bodied with medium acidity. Immensely concentrated and pure. Cherry liqueur, saline, olives and blood on the palate. The finish lingers. Fantastic Syrah that is only ready to go now with a healthy decant. This wine will certainly age well for the next 5-7 years. Lots to like here.

My rating: 95 points.

The Reynvaan mailing list is not quite full. Well connected buyers can also find the wines at retail. One of the most exciting wineries in Washington. Proceed accordingly.

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2007 Cayuse Syrah En Chamberlin Vineyard – Bottle Notes

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.

En Chamberlin Vineyard was planted in 2000. This vineyard produces The Widowmaker Cabernet Sauvignon, Impulsivo Tempranillo and En Chamberlin Syrah.

Magenta in color. 14.2% ABV. Funky nose of red fruits, olive brine, smoke and iodine. Medium body with medium acidity. Smooth, concentrated and powerful. Cherries, blood, peppered steak and minerals on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and smoky. Not for the faint of heart but definitely in my wheelhouse. Absolutely stunning. Drink over the next 2-4 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! Earlier this year Christophe Baron finally made the cover of the Wine Spectator. Cayuse, Horsepower and No Girls are dialed in and Christophe has a new project and vineyard in the works. Expect to hear about Hors Categorie and Fiddleneck Vineyard in the next year or so.

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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2008 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche – Bottle Notes

Betz Family Winery was founded in 1997 by Bob & Cathy Betz. Critical acclaim from local and national wine publications has put Betz Family Winery at the forefront of Washington wines alongside Cayuse, Leonetti and Quilceda Creek. The winery was sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel five years ago. Louis Skinner, a longtime assistant of Bob’s, is now the full time Winemaker.

2008 was the second vintage of La Côte Patriarche. The fruit is from Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima Valley. The Syrah at Red Willow was planted in 1986 making it the oldest Syrah vineyard in the state.

Inky purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Savory nose of black fruits, olives, grilled meats and wild flowers. Full bodied with tons of acidity. Powerful, layered and concentrated with firm tannins. Blackberry liqueur, black cherries, white pepper and olive brine on the palate. The finish is long and unctuous. Timeless Syrah that is delicious now but will easily age another 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 points.

I understand the mailing list is full, although I suspect the wait isn’t too long. Fortunately, the wines from Betz are readily available all over Seattle almost year-round. The 2014 La Côte Patriarche was released to the mailing list last month and should be available at retail in the near future. I’m a buyer.

I wrote about the new releases in Betz Family Winery End of Summer 2015 Release Party.

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2008 Cayuse God Only Knows – Bottle Notes

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.

90% Grenache and 10% “God only knows” sourced from Armada Vineyard.

Dark rust in color. 14.2% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, olives, incense and smoke. Medium body with light to medium acidity. Plush and somewhat funky with great underlying structure. Cherries, saline, cabbage and grilled meats on the palate. The wine has a stunning finish. World class Grenache. Drink 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! Earlier this year Christophe Baron finally made the cover of the Wine Spectator. Cayuse, Horsepower and No Girls are dialed in and Christophe has a new project and vineyard in the works. Expect to hear about Hors Categorie and Fiddleneck Vineyard in the next year or so.

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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2006 Lillian Syrah – Bottle Notes

Maggie Harrison was assistant winemaker to Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non for eight years before moving to Oregon to take over the wine making position at Antica Terra. Lillian Winery, founded in 2004, represents Maggie’s personal project and reflects everything that she learned during her time at Sine Qua Non.

The fruit for the Lillian Syrah comes from the White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. The 77 acre vineyard was planted in 1997.

Ruby red in color. 15.6% ABV. Spellbinding nose of blue fruits, molten licorice and violets. Medium to full body with exceptional balance. Amazing texture and presence on the palate. Flavors of cherry liqueur, blueberries, iron and milk chocolate. The finish is long, seamless and silky. Stunning, sexy and extremely well crafted Syrah. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 96 points.

Lillian belongs in the discussion of best domestic syrahs with the likes of Cayuse, Saxum and the aforementioned Sine Qua Non.

The wine is available via the web site once a year and current vintages run about $75. The 2014 should be released in the near future. I recently blogged about Lillian forgoing their mailing list which is great news for those of you looking to secure a few bottles.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2008 Syrah

The December installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2008 Syrah from some of the most iconic domestic producers. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle on New Year’s Eve and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

2008 was an average vintage for both California and Washington. Nonetheless, these producers never seem to disappoint.

The Contenders:

2008 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill – The compelling, blockbuster 2008 Syrah Cardiac Hill (40% whole clusters/stems used) was aged in 30% new French oak casks. This -blood of Syrah- effort boasts an inky/purple color as well as a thick, viscous, high octane personality. The bouquet offers up scents of beef blood, blood oranges, graphite, blueberries and flowers. This is an exceptionally rich, nuanced, world-class Syrah with good underlying minerality as well as great focus and precision for a wine of such mass and richness. While it is already hard to resist, it should evolve for a decade or more. 96 points from the Wine Advocate.

2008 Lillian Syrah – Glass-staining purple. Deeply pitched aromas of black and blue fruits, incense, olive tapenade and fruitcake, with smoke and violet notes gaining power with air. Rich and broad but almost shockingly energetic, offering sweet, liqueur-like blackberry and boysenberry flavors and exotic spice and floral pastille qualities. Intense and focused on the extremely long finish, which strongly repeats the floral and spice notes. I had the chance to retaste the 2007 Lillian this fall, and while it appears to have closed down a bit since this time last year, it is still a complex, compelling and extremely alluring wine. As rich as it is, it doesn’t come off as overblown or overtly decadent. 94 points from Stephen Tanzer.

2008 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard –  The 2008 Armada Vineyard Syrah takes the longest to come around according to Christophe Baron. It was aged in puncheon for 22 months. Smoked meat, game, Asian spices, lavender, and blueberry are just some of the scents composing the wine’s aromatic array. In the glass it opens to reveal a pure, rich, elegant but powerful wine with a 60-second finish. It, too, will drink nicely for 10-12 years. I’m a bit cautious on my aging potential estimates because of the lack of a track record, but 10-12 years is a certainty in a cold cellar. 98 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2008 Syrah Should I Open?

  • 2008 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard (45%, 22 Votes)
  • 2008 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill (31%, 15 Votes)
  • 2008 Lillian Syrah (24%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 49

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the January installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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