Cayuse Camaspelo 2009
Bordeaux Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
Wine Enthusiast - "The Camaspelo blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, and it shows a riot of juicy cranberry, raspberry, blueberry and black cherry flavors in a rambunctious display of power. Full, round and balanced, it offers hints of cedar, earth and coffee that extend onto the lush, complex, age-worthy finish.
International Wine Cellar - "Medium red. Sexy aromas of strawberry and high-pitched spices. Juicy and intense, with compelling lift and definition to the penetrating red fruit flavors. A very refined style for this wine, and the best of these 2009s to this point in terms of definition and energy. Finishes very long, with suave tannins and thorough ripeness. Perhaps the best vintage yet for this bottling. Christophe Baron noted that 2009 was 'great for the Bordeaux varieties' and this wine certainly makes his case."
Wine Spectator - "Supple, silky and succulent, focusing its black cherry, black olive, rose petal and spice flavors on a glassy frame, lingering on the expressive finish."
The Wine Advocate - "Cassis, juniper berry, licorice, walnut oil, and a Tempranillo-like ashen smokiness scent and inform the bittersweet, polished palate of Baron's 2009 Camaspelo (named for a mid 19th Century Cayuse chief), whose as usual dominant Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 18% Merlot and sourced from the En Cerise and Cailloux vineyards. Bitter hints of huckleberry as well as suggestions of crushed stone and pencil lead add to the complexity of a protracted finish. 'Red Mountain gives you, to me, the Mike Tyson of Cabernet Sauvignon,' says Baron (as usual!) wryly and provocatively. By contrast, he claims to be searching for something rich yet understated, and notes that 'after about five or six years we decided to use less oak for ours.' That said, there is a certain sense of opacity and stasis here as opposed to the levity and vibrancy of the very best wines in this same collection. Baron says this bottling routinely picks up an alluring floral nuance with time in bottle. I’d certainly consider giving it at least 6-8 weeks to demonstrate such a trend, and even if it doesn't, it's still very impressive stuff."
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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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