Cayuse Camaspelo 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Coming from the En Cerise and Cailloux vineyards, the 2017 Camaspelo doesn’t match the stunning 2016 but still offers a gorgeous perfume of red and black currants, toasted spices, flowery incense, and green tobacco that develops nicely with time in the glass. Playing in the medium to full-bodied end of the spectrum, with silky tannins and a great balance, it’s an ethereal, balanced Bordeaux blend (it’s mostly Cabernet Sauvignon) that’s going to develop even more complexity with 2-4 years of bottle age and have 15-20 years of prime drinking.
This is all about drinkability with its pure fruit, fine and creamy tannins and a smoky, meaty aftertaste to the finish. Hints of burnt citrus. Medium to full body. Delicious and succulent at the end. Drink now.
The Cabernet-based 2017 Camaspelo displays with a deep ruby core that fades to a soft purple edge and gives up aromas of blackberry, cassis and dark cherry skin that waft with delicate herbal essence and dried purple flowers on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, the wine is energetic and lively on the palate, with a balanced expression and ends with a long, classic finish. This will age gracefully over the next decade and a half.
Appealing aromas of green pepper, cherry, fresh herb, saline and moist earth are followed by concentrated, focused, pillowy-soft cherry flavors. It brings a compelling sense of purity and freshness, with mouthwatering acidity seldom seen from this area. It’s a complete standout.
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.
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.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.