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Cayuse, Cailloux Vineyard Syrah 2004
Syrah 96%, Viognier 4%
This Cote-Rotie inspired Syrah shows an other-worldy intensity of flavour combined with a profound complexity and perfectly judged texture that so rarely go hand in hand.
While visiting the Walla Walla Valley in 1996, Christophe Baron spotted a plot of land that had been plowed up to reveal acres of softball-sized stones. He became ridiculously excited. This stony soil, this terroir, reminded him of vineyards he had visited in France and Spain. The difficult ground would stress the grapevines, making them produce more mature, concentrated fruit. Christophe Baron had found a new home. He named his vineyard after the Cayuse, a Native American tribe whose name was taken from the French cailloux which means, of course, rocks. Hours of back-breaking work later, Cayuse Vineyards has become five vineyards encompassing 50 acres: Armada, Cailloux, Coccinelle [Ladybug], En Cerise [Cherry], and En Chamberlin. The majority of the vineyards are planted with Syrah, and the rest dedicated to Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Tempranillo and Viognier. All of the vineyards are planted in rocky earth within the Walla Walla Valley appellation. Cayuse was also the first winery in Walla Walla to farm using biodynamic methods. These highly stressed vineyards average a yield of only two tons or less per acre (30 hectolitres per hectare), resulting in wines true to each vineyard's unique terroir. Cayuse specializes in four estate-vineyard Syrahs, along with Bionic Frog Syrah, Impulsivo Tempranillo, Widowmaker Cabernet-Sauvignon, two Bordeaux blends named Camaspelo & Flying Pig and Viognier.
Wine Advocate 100pts (2014) - Incorporating a touch more Viognier than normal, the 2014 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard is 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier from the first vineyard planted in the stones region of Walla Walla. Sporting a surprisingly deep, inky color, it offers a heavenly bouquet of black olives, tobacco leaf, smoked meats, pepper, blackcurrant and black cherry notes. Deep, rich and ever changing in the glass, with incredible complexity and layers, this full-bodied masterpiece has building tannin, a stacked mid-palate and a great, great finish. It's pure perfection in Syrah, and the finest vintage of this cuvee ever made. As a bonus, it's also the largest production Syrah they produce. Bravo!