Cayuse Armada Syrah 2010
Syrah/Shiraz from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
The Wine Advocate - "Christophe’s Armada Vineyard Syrah has slowly become one of my favorite releases and the 2010 Syrah Armada Vineyard does nothing to dampen my growing enthusiasm for the vineyard. From a high-density planting in 2001 that lies just behind the winemaking facility (or “studio” if you’re talking with Christophe), it offers up a brilliant bouquet of sweet kirsch and plum liqueur intermixed with notions of bacon fat, wild herbs, ground pepper and liquid rock. Evolving beautifully with air and incredibly complex aromatically, it is full-bodied, voluptuously textured and delivers serious levels of fruit and richness without ever seeming the least bit heavy or cumbersome. Count me a fan and this knockout Syrah will stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world. "
International Wine Cellar - "Good deep red. A deep cherry aroma is lifted by rose petal and minerals. Tight, fresh and primary, with a strong spice quality to the flavors of redcurrant, framboise and minerals. A hint of maple syrup adds another dimension without compromising the wine's juicy character. Saturates every square millimeter of the palate and echoes on the long, firmly tannic, virtually weightless finish. I love the influence of ripe stems here. Brilliant Washington syrah. "
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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