Cayuse En Cerise Syrah 2009
Syrah/Shiraz from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
The Wine Advocate - "Fermented in concrete, then aged in demi-muids, only around 20% of which were new, Baron’s 2009 Syrah En Cerise Vineyard incorporates a mouthwateringly savory alliance of smoke meat and soy sauce to its luxuriantly rich, silken-textured matrix of confitured cassis and cherry, further laced with salted caramel, while striking perfume of mint, gentian, cardamom, and rose wood hovers above the glass and inner-mouth. The finish here lingers with an uncanny combination of seductive caress, vibrancy, richness, and buoyancy, its many flavor strands – floral, fruited, animal, spice and mineral – dynamically intertwining. I would surely give at least some bottles of it 12-15 years' opportunity to show their true potential. Cautious as I attempt to be in drawing such parallels, if Baron’s latest Cailloux bottling resembles Verset Cornas, then this En Cerise puts one in mind of another of his Rhone heroes and (albeit self-effacing) near-legends, Marius Gentaz of Cote Rotie, and in either instance Baron’s result measures up to that of these old masters."
Wine Spectator - "Rich, supple and opulent, this is generous with its blackberry, purple plum, black olive, tobacco and dusky spice flavors, remaining complex and harmonious through the long, balanced finish."
Wine Enthusiast - "Flavors of blackberry, black cherry and a streak of cola ignite the palate, with a layer of pure mineral underneath. At first a bit delicate, this never pauses, introducing umami and cinnamon highlights on the lingering finish. It’s fresh and elegant, with a more gentle fade than some of the more potent Syrahs from Cayuse."
International Wine Cellar - "Good medium ruby, brighter than the Cailloux. The nose offers superb lift for this warm vintage: black cherry, blackberry, cocoa powder and pink peppercorn, plus a suggestion of marshmallow. Lush and pliant but with a firm spine of acidity and underlying minerality energizing the sweet dark fruit and black olive flavors. A distinctly Rhone-like animal quality adds interest. At once rich and dry, with a building, tactile, palate-staining finish featuring a saline quality and strong black cherry flavor. At 14.2% alcohol, this has the lowest octane level of this set of 2009s but boasts outstanding flavor impact.
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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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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.