Cayuse Bionic Frog Syrah 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
There’s a darker and deeper character that sets this syrah apart from the rest at Cayuse. Staggering intensity of black-fruit aromas and woody spices, as well as dark chocolate and meaty notes. The palate has a sense of total saturation and the tannins are so polished, so long and so dense. There’s an ethereal mood here, transcending individual descriptors and delivering licorice, sarsaparilla and blackberries, all bathed in hard, brown spices. Seamless, long and silky. Best from 2022 and for at least a decade after that.
The 2016 Syrah Bionic Frog needs no introduction, as its reputation proceeds it. Aromas of black fruit, olive and savory herbs with hints of mustard seed waft from the nose. The palate shows soft flavors of smoke and ash over a firm core of minerality that is very pleasurable, continuing on to the long-lingering finish and aftertaste of olive and dark berries. An instant success, only 509 cases were created.
The aromas fascinate, with notes of funk, earth, savory green olive, herb, soot, umami, black pepper, black olive brine, smoked meat and caper. It shows a profound sense of intensity, balance and layering to the savory and floral flavors that continue through the long, richly flavored finish of firepit and flowers.
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.