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Flat front label of wine

Cayuse Bionic Frog Syrah 2005

Syrah/Shiraz from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP98
  • WS95
0% ABV
  • RP100
  • JS99
  • WE94
  • WS93
  • RP97
  • WS94
  • RP99
  • WE96
  • WS94
  • RP96
  • WE93
  • WS92
  • RP100
  • WS97
  • WE94
  • RP97
  • WE95
  • WS94
  • WE100
  • RP97
  • WS93
  • WE98
  • JS97
  • RP96
  • WS95
  • RP99
  • WS96
  • RP99
  • WE96
  • WS94
  • WS96
  • RP95
  • W&S91
  • RP98
  • WS96
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Winemaker Notes

Christophe Baron strikes again. His estate, just on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla AVA, consists of five small but distinct vineyards (41 acres in total – with more on the way). Syrah and the Bordeaux varietals are the principal focus but the finest parcels of Tempranillo, Viognier, and Grenache grown in the USA are on this estate. The vineyards are farmed biodynamically and much of the estate is planted on rootstock to prepare for the day when phylloxera works its way through Walla Walla. The wines are all fermented with indigenous yeasts and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another blockbuster vintage, the 2005 Syrah Bionic Frog is one of the more masculine and structured in the lineup. Chocolate, crushed rocks, wood smoke, iodine and spiced meats all give way to a full-bodied, deeply concentrated, rich and structured Syrah that needs another 2-3 years to fully flesh out. While its masculine, meaty character dominated at first, it showed more and more layers with time in the glass. It should be at its best from 2017-2030. Rating: 98+
WS 95
Wine Spectator
Lithe, focused and generous with its blackberry, cherry and exotic spice flavors, picking up a stony minerality as the finish turns silky and refined. Each sip turns the wine in a slightly different direction, suggesting this will develop remarkable complexity as it ages. Best from 2010 through 2017.
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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. It is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers. Though it is cooler and wetter than most of Washington State’s viticultural areas, irrigation from the Columbia River is still common, though some vineyards on the rainier eastern end of the AVA are able to dry farm.

The conditions in the Walla Walla Valley are perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of black olives, smoke, bacon fat, and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are produced in a range of styles from smooth and supple to tannic and structured. White varieties are a relative rarity here. Sauvignon Blanc is sometimes blended with Sémillon in the style of Bordeaux white blends, resulting in a richer, rounder version take on the variety. Plantings of Viognier are minimal, but often quite successful.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

KRY123859_2005 Item# 123859