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Posts tagged ‘Cayuse’

Devastating News from Cayuse

Official email from Cayuse about not releasing most of their 2015 vintage is below.

Dear Tom

Since 1997, we at Cayuse Vineyards have been dedicated to creating world-class wines. We are committed to biodynamic farming and our mission is to produce wine that is the best possible representation of our unique terroir. We simply will not release a wine that doesn’t meet our rigorous standards.

Earlier this year, in preparation for the May bottling of many of our 2015 wines, we purchased the highest quality corks from our long time supplier. Despite taking every possible step to ensure that we are crafting the best wines possible, during bottling we discovered paraffin particulates caused by faulty corks.

We stopped bottling immediately and we contacted the cork supplier right away. They told us they knew what the problem was with the first lot of corks and they assured us we could proceed with bottling the rest of the wines using a second separate lot of corks.

After bottling, we checked periodically to be certain there were no problems and to see how the wines were developing. When we discovered the presence of paraffin and an oily film in the wines bottled with the second lot of corks we decided to bring in industry experts to help analyze the wines. Their analysis included a Military-Style Protocol Sampling which confirmed the entire bottling was defective. We agree with the conclusions of the experts and as a result we will not be releasing any of the wines from our May bottling.

We have been working diligently with our insurance company to ensure that each customer receives a full refund for the following wines as soon as possible:

2015 Bionic Frog Syrah
2015 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah
2015 Camaspelo
2015 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah
2015 En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah
2015 Flying Pig
2015 Impulsivo Tempranillo
2015 Wallah Wallah Special Syrah #8 Magnums
2015 Widowmaker Cabernet Sauvignon

We are devastated at the loss of these wines which includes 2,995 cases (750ml) and 2,678 magnums. As you all know, there is considerable anticipation for the 2015 vintage from Cayuse Vineyards and the wines were outstanding prior to that bottling in May. In March, just two months before that bottling, Jeb Dunnuck of The Wine Advocate tasted barrel samples of these wines and scored them between 93 and 100 points. We are extremely disappointed to have produced such beautiful wines that we are now unable to release.

Not all is lost. The rest of the 2015 vintage (bottled in August 2016 and July 2017) remains pristine. The following wines will be distributed, as planned:

2015 Edith Grenache Rosé
2015 Cailloux Vineyard Viognier
2015 God Only Knows Grenache
2015 Armada Vineyard Syrah
2015 The Lovers

Cayuse Vineyards is passionately committed to creating world-class wines. We thank each of you for your ongoing loyalty, support and understanding. We know that you share our disappointment. Obviously this was beyond our control and we’re very sorry.

We really appreciate your ongoing trust.

In Vino Veritas.

Christophe Baron
Vigneron

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Pick My Next Bottle – Grenache Showdown

The September Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles of Grenache. The idea for this installment was crowd sourced from some of my favorite followers on Twitter. It is timely as well, considering International Grenache Day was just a week ago. 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. The winning bottle will be opened this weekend and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

The Contenders:

  • 2007 Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin – I’ve drunk over a case of the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée Chaupin from my cellar, and this was easily one of the finest bottles (it was from magnum) I’ve ever had. Made from close to 100% Grenache and brought up in foudre, it’s a crazy good, monumental beauty that offers loads of ripe blackberries, black raspberries, crushed flowers and garrigue aromas and flavors. Concentrated, layered and unctuous, with a to-die-for texture, no hard edges and a huge finish, this beauty is still youthful and is just now starting to show hints of maturity. When it’s this good, I can’t recommend waiting, but I’ve no doubt this will continue to offer this level of quality for at least another decade.  99 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2009 Cayuse God Only Knows – Fresh strawberry and elderberry are tinged with birch bark extract, black tea, and basil, making for an aromatically intriguing and lip-smacking palate presence. An upwelling of beef marrow and a Syrah- (or Gewurztraminer-) like hint of smoked meat add to the wine’s saliva-inducing savor. Here is a really vivid illustration of how the best Washington wines offer nearly luxuriant richness and sweet berry intensity but at the same time exhilarating vibrancy and lift. And, true to Baron’s repeatedly stated intentions, there are – beyond salt, stone, and smoky aura of black tea – elements impinging on this wine’s superbly sustained finish that can only be called “mineral,” even if one can’t find further words for them… Incidentally, the wine was vinified in concrete and then aged in demi-muids plus one concrete egg. Apropos controlling alcohol and enhancing ripe flavors, this beauty clocked in at what – in comparison with other recent vintages – counts as a modest 14.3%, despite its warm growing season; yet as you can tell from my description, there’s nothing under-ripe about its performance! 95 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2013 Outpost Howell Mountain – There are 410 cases of the 2013 Grenache. This wine, which used 100% whole-clusters and aged 14 months in neutral French oak, offers terrific authentic aromatics of kirsch liqueur and strawberries that jump from the glass of this medium ruby-colored wine. The color looks light and somewhat insipid, but it is in no way an indication of the lush, sexy, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel. This is a beauty, but seductive, and needs to be drunk in its first 4-5 years of life.  92 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Grenache Should I Open?

  • 2009 Cayuse God Only Knows (39%, 20 Votes)
  • 2007 Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin (31%, 16 Votes)
  • 2013 Outpost Howell Mountain (30%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 51

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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 October installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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2011 No Girls Syrah La Paciencia Vineyard – Bottle Notes

The 2011 No Girls Syrah was the winning bottle in the September Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was opened and served immediately.

No Girls Wines is a partnership between famed Cayuse vigneron Christophe Baron and longtime friend and Cayuse general manager, Trevor Dorland. The fruit comes from the Cayuse La Paciencia vineyard, which means patience—appropriate as the project was ten years in the making. The vines are tightly spaced and planted on an angle, giving No Girls a profile all its own. Elizabeth Bourcier is the Winemaker at No Girls.

The name No Girls comes from a mid-19th century building Christophe purchased. Just past the main entrance, at the top of a flight of stairs, the words “no girls” were painted on the wall. The decades old sign was a symbol that this house of ill repute had been shut down. The wine label is an actual photograph.

Crimson in color. 13.5% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, olive brine and campfire embers. Full bodied with medium acidity. Supple, rich and completely seamless. Cherries, smoked meat, blood and black pepper on the palate. The finish is extraordinarily long with silky tannins. Simply stunning Syrah. I am eager to follow this project as the vineyard matures and winemaker hones her craft. Drink over the next 5-7 years.

My rating: 95 points.

The wine is incredibly hard to obtain. Sign up for the waiting list. Be patient.

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2009 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard – Bottle Notes

The 2009 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard was the winning bottle in the July Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was opened and served shortly thereafter.

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.

At 1815 vines per acre, the 7-acre Armada Vineyard, created in 2001, 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.

Maroon in color. 14.7% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, soy sauce, olive brine and smoke. Medium to full bodied with loads of acidity. Immense and concentrated. Plum sauce, warm cherry pie, barbecued meats and minerals on the palate. The finish is incredibly long. In a really nice spot now but this wine will certainly drink well for another 3-5 years. Fantastic Syrah that has a timeless quality to it.

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. Lastly, Christophe at long last is hard at work on making a vintage Champagne. Expect to hear more in the years to come.

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power RankingsWinery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5 and Cayuse Vineyards – Better than Ever.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2009 Syrah

The July Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Syrah from the 2009 vintage. 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. The winning bottle will be opened this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

2009 was an average to slightly above average in California and Washington. However, I rarely worry about vintages when purchasing from these producers. Lillian, Carlisle and Cayuse seemingly deliver tremendous wines, year in and year out, regardless of conditions.

The Contenders:

  • 2009 Lillian Syrah –  Inky purple. Explosive aromas of candied dark berries, incense, violet and patchouli, with woodsmoke, olive and Asian spice nuances adding complexity. Lush, palate-coating black and blue fruit compote flavors are energized by bright spice and mineral notes. Picks up candied violet and licorice notes on the sweet, impressively long finish, which is given grip by late-arriving tannins. With its suave marriage of power and energy, this is built for the long haul. There’s no way I’d have guessed that this wine clocked in at 15.2% alcohol save for its fruit intensity. 94 points from Stephen Tanzer.
  • 2009 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill – The 2009 Syrah Cardiac Hill is a gorgeous, thrilling wine laced with bacon fat, tapenade, savory herbs and plums. It possesses gorgeous aromatic delineation and fabulous length. The intense, mineral-drenched finish argues for cellaring the wine for at least another 2-3 years, but readers are going to have a very hard time keeping their hands off this gem. Cardiac Hill is a very cold site. The wine (100% Syrah) was vinified with 40% whole cluster and aged in French oak barrels, 27% new. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.  93 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2009 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard– A much more voluptuous, concentrated and obviously great Syrah, the 2009 Syrah Armada Vineyard yields lots of plum sauce, spice, licorice and crushed rock aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, layered, pedal-to-the-metal style. This is a great wine that will have 20-25 years of longevity.  97 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2009 Syrah Should I Open?

  • 2009 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard (37%, 23 Votes)
  • 2009 Lillian Syrah (35%, 22 Votes)
  • 2009 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill (28%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 62

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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 August installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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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.

Light red or rust colored. 14.2% ABV. Textbook En Chamberlin on the nose with aromas of red fruits, olives, smoked meats and grilled vegetables. Medium body and not lacking in acidity. Plush and concentrated. Cherries, smoke, blood, iodine and minerals on the palate. There is so much going on here. The finish is exceptionally long. As always, the funkiest wine in the Cayuse lineup. Drink over the next 2-3 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. Lastly, Christophe at long last is hard at work on making a vintage Champagne. Expect to hear more in the years to come.

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power RankingsWinery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5 and Cayuse Vineyards – Better than Ever.

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

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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.

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

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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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