Cayuse Camaspelo 2007
Bordeaux Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
A cult of personality seems to have developed in Washington over the past couple of years. Whenever the name Christophe is mentioned, everyone immediately knows of whom you are talking. The man himself, Christophe Baron continues to find new and interesting things to do. His latest vineyard project is well underway on hillsides not far from his present location. His estate, just on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla AVA, consists of five small but distinct vineyards (41 acres in total – with more on the way). Syrah and the Bordeaux varietals are the principal focus but some of the finest parcels of Tempranillo and Grenache grown in the USA are on this estate. Unfortunately, there will be no more varietally bottled Viognier which will now be used only as a blending grape. The vineyards are farmed biodynamically and much of the estate is planted on rootstock to prepare for the day when phylloxera works its way through Walla Walla. The wines are all fermented with indigenous yeasts and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The Wine Advocate - "The Bordeaux-styled reds begin with the 2007 Camaspelo, a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc. The already complex aromatics reveal mineral, Asian spices, incense, violets, black currant and black cherry. In the mouth it offers a lovely combination of power and elegance, along with ripe tannins, leading to a lengthy, fruit-filled finish. Give it 4-6 years of additional cellaring and drink it through 2022. "
Wine Enthusiast - "The Camaspelo—a 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc blend—is a little bigger, a little thicker in the mouth than the Flying Pig, but with similar fruit and grip. The mineral base, dusty cherry and currant fruit and accent notes of cured meats give this wine a layered complexity; it unfolds gracefully across the palate and down into a long finish. Still very young, but with exceptional aging potential."
An adventure in the new world
Christophe Baron grew up among the vineyards and cellars of his family's centuries-old Champagne house, Baron Albert. His sense of adventure, however, led him to become the first Frenchman to establish a winery in Washington State.
While visiting the Walla Walla Valley in 1996, Christophe spotted a plot of land that had been plowed up to reveal acres of softball-sized stones. This stony soil, this terroir, was just like that of some of the most prestigious French appellations. The difficult ground would stress the grapevines, making them produce more mature, concentrated fruit.
He named his vineyard after the Cayuse, a Native American tribe whose name was taken from the French cailloux--which means, rocks. Hours of back-breaking work later, Cayuse Vineyards has become five vineyards encompassing 41 acres.
The majority is planted with Syrah, and the rest dedicated to Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Tempranillo and Viognier. All of the vineyards are planted in rocky earth within the Walla Walla Valley appellation. Cayuse was the first winery in Washington State to use biodynamic farming methods. View all Cayuse Wines
About Walla Walla Valley
Sharing part of the valley with Oregon, Walla Walla is on the southeast side of the Columbia Valley. It is primarily red grape land, with Cabernet Sauvignon leading in the vineyards, followed by Merlot and the ever-growing and very popular, Syrah.In the 1990's, as Washington State was gaining more acclaim for its red wines, Walla Walla was hailed by wine critics for its quality and sense of place. That has not changed. Many red wines from Walla Walla show not only great complexity and elegance, but ageability. Though the region is known for the red wines, the most planted white grape here is Chardonnay.
About WashingtonRelated Links:Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
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