Cayuse En Cerise Syrah 2017
Distinctly darker, the way the Cote Brune is darker than the Cote Blonde in Cote-Rotie.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Syrah En Cerise Vineyard is cut from the same cloth as the Cailloux Vineyard release, yet is a slightly darker, meatier wine, offering a Jamet-like bouquet of blackberries, ground pepper, black olive, bloody meat, crushed rocks, and violets. Showing less overt funkiness and just a stunningly pure, elegant, medium to full-bodied Syrah, it has silky tannins, a great spine of acidity, and a great, great finish. Drink it any time over the coming two decades or more. It’s hard to say if this will surpass the 2016, 2008, and 2007, but it’s certainly in the same ballpark.
Lots of blackberries and blueberries with grilled meat and gristle undertones. This is full-bodied, yet ever so balanced and creamy with integrated, fine tannins that are soft and caressing. Delicious finish. Drink or hold.
The 2017 Syrah en Cerise begins a little more broad-shouldered than the rest of the range, offering up aromas of black cherries, crushed rock, cured meats, smoked peppercorn and dusty lavender in the glass. Full-bodied, the wine is firm with youthful tannins, which make this bottling food-friendly. Open-knit and expressive, the long, winding finish evolves over a few moments before reverting to savory tones and an expression of dust-covered cherry skin.
The aromas are quite reserved for this producer, with notes of flower, crushed rock and fireplace. A flavorful palate follows, full of black-olive and earth notes. A lingering finish comes next. It’s a very understated offering.
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.