Cayuse Camaspelo 2018
This fruit hails from Cayuse’s “En Cerise” vineyard. Literally translated, “En Cerise” means “cherry”—appropriate since this 10-acre vineyard planted in 1998 was a cherry orchard in its former life.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Lots of ripe cherries, mulberries, brambly herbs, tobacco, and earth emerge from the 2018 Camaspelo, although it's one of the more reticent, backward wines in the lineup and takes plenty of air to show at its best. Offering full-bodied richness, a round, mouth-filling texture, and building yet ripe tannins, it needs 3-5 years of bottle age to round into form and should have two decades or overall longevity. Rating: 95+
Aromas of plums, currants, dried herbs, tangerine, gravel and spices. It’s full-bodied with silky, firm tannins and bright acidity. Intense and savory with rich yet balanced layers. Hints of chocolate at the end. A Bordeaux blend. Drink or hold.
Elegant yet dynamic, with expressive wild berry, licorice and toasty spice flavors that glide on the long and savory finish. Drink now through 2030.
Boasting a warm and generous nose that offers firm and expressive aromas of crème de cassis, black plum skin, dark cherry compote and spiced blackberry jus, the 2018 Camaspelo displays elements of resinous purple flowers and brown baking spices in the glass. Full-bodied and with silky tannins, the wine glides across the mid-palate with elegance and ease, leaving juicy flavors of macerating dark berries, cardamom madeleines and plum reduction. The wine has all of its elegance on display and concludes with an elongated finish that begs me back for another sip. The wine rested for 19 months in about 35% new French oak. It has me daydreaming of pan-seared Tomahawk chops.
Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine has aromas that enchant, with notes of cigar box, savory herbs, cherry, wet stone and fresh flowers. It coats the palate from end to end, showing intensity and richness but still plenty of vibrancy. It's outrageously delicious now but will only pick up steam with some time in the cellar. Best after 2025.
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.