Cayuse Bionic Frog Syrah 2009
Syrah/Shiraz from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Wine Style Guide
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
Alcohol By Volume: 14.7%
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
"Cayuse’s 2009 Syrah Bionic Frog originates in the Coccinelle Vineyard, planted in 1998, which features iron-rich clay with significant fine earth run-off from the nearby Blue Mountains, and, paradoxically, dries out quickest. In more ways than one, it’s the opposite of En Chamberlin. “This is, 90% of the time, the Syrah that we pick first,” notes Baron, “which was September 24 in 2009.” Vinification was in concrete (though future vintages will ferment in recently-arrived wooden uprights), and the mix of barrels – all Dominique Laurent’s self-styled “magic barriques” (which until 2011 was the favored medium for this bottling) – was around 20-30% new. Baron and Bourcier explain how they like what these barrels have done for the Bionic Frog, but, adds Baron: “My style of wine should not be based on a cooper, and I don’t want to be dependent on one man’s barrel.” Red and black raspberries as well as cherries – seemingly simultaneously in confitured, fresh, and distilled formats – are mingled with nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, black tea and salted caramel on the nose; and then again on a strikingly bright, sappy palate, leading to a finish of rapier penetration and compulsive saliva-inducement. The charm, mystery, and intricacy exhibited by a couple of other splendid wines in the present collection might be missing here, but the sheer energy, persistence, and, for lack of a better word, umami-savor are amazing. It’s a brave man who would want to forsake the “formula” behind this bit of alchemy, even if it depends on barrels whose alleged secret is guarded by an almost eccentrically passionate Burgundian winemaker! Almost unbelievably, Baron informs me that he thinks this wine is “shy and in its shell” right now; but I’m not buying that to the extent of including a plus sign or a plus with question mark after my score! Only around half the fruit was destemmed for this, incidentally; Baron says it was Verset who inspired him to the potential of vendange entier. This should be well worth following for 15 or more years. "
The Wine Advocate
"Bright dark red. Multidimensional nose delivers black raspberry, brown sugar, smoky cardamom and black olive. Superconcentrated, sappy and rich, showing a rare blend of power and delicacy. No single element dominates this outstanding syrah; flavors of red and black fruits, pepper and spices wash over the palate in a wave. Finishes with very fine tannins and great persistence."
International Wine Cellar
"The Frog is a bit reductive, a bit shy in 2009 and needs extra decanting. With proper breathing time, it shows inviting notes of violets and strawberries, and it gains concentration through the midpalate, with additions of cherry and an almost liquid minerality. An almost delicate version of this wine."
"Focused, with nice density to the juicy blueberry and black plum flavors, hinting at black pepper, Lapsang souchong tea and tar as the finish sails on and on. Shows presence and depth, deftly balanced on the finish."
Learn About Cayuse
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...
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Learn About Walla Walla Valley
So nice, they say it twice...
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...
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Learn About Syrah/Shiraz
(seh-RAH/shee-RAHZ) It's a Smokin' Grape Syrah and Shiraz - same grape, different name. It's a popular and adept variety, growing in multiple regions and creating many different styles of wine. The home base of Syrah is the Northern Rhone, where it creates the exclusive wines of Hermitage and Cote Rotie. On the less pricy side, the Rhone makes Syrah-based wines in Crozes...
Read More About Syrah/Shiraz