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Cayuse Bionic Frog Syrah 2004

Syrah/Shiraz from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP99
  • WE96
  • WS94
15.2% ABV
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  • RP97
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15.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 99
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Coming close to matching the 2010, the 2004 Syrah Bionic Frog (which was also a cool vintage) came from tiny yields of 16 hectoliter per hectare. It’s an incredibly beautiful Syrah that exhibits lots of saltiness in its cassis and currant-like fruits, licorice, olive brine and crushed rock-like minerality. These all come together perfectly on the palate, where the wine is full-bodied, layered and awesomely pure, plus has a killer finish. It’s another monumental effort from this estate that will stand toe to toe with the greatest Syrah in the world.
WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
Smooth, supple and full-flavored, The Bionic Frog shows the characteristic uber-funk that it is known for. But in this new vintage it seems to be a bit less in-your-face than previously. There's plenty of wild herb, beef blood and silage to go around; but the flavors are already fully integrated, the wine viscous and plush with an intensely spicy quality. This is beautiful, thick and meaty yet still lifted through the finish, which keeps adding new scents and flavors as it sails along-vanilla, clove and baking spices.
WS 94
Wine Spectator
Glows with plum and spice aromas, then gets serious on the palate, with layers of tar, molasses and coffee to meld with the plum and cherry flavors. The subtle finish lingers and lingers. Drink now through 2014.
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Cayuse

Cayuse

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Cayuse, Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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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.

Walla Walla Valley

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Responsible for some of Washington’s most highly acclaimed wines, the Walla Walla Valley has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years and is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers.

The Walla Walla Valley, a Native American name meaning “many waters,” is located in southeastern Washington; part of the appellation actually extends into Oregon. Soils here are well-drained, sandy loess over Missoula Flood deposits and fractured basalt.

It is a region perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of red berry, black olive, smoke and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot create a range of styles from smooth and supple to robust and well-structured. White varieties are rare but some producers blend Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon, resulting in a rich and round style, and plantings of Viognier, while minimal, are often quite successful.

Of note within Walla Walla, is one new and very peculiar appellation, called the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. This is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries are totally defined by the soil type. Soils here look a bit like those in the acclaimed Rhône region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but are large, ancient, basalt cobblestones. These stones work in the same way as they do in Chateauneuf, absorbing and then radiating the sun's heat up to enhance the ripening of grape clusters. The Rocks District is within the part of Walla Walla that spills over into Oregon and naturally excels in the production of Rhône varieties like Syrah, as well as the Bordeaux varieties.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

NVS123860_2004 Item# 123860