Cayuse God Only Knows Grenache 2017
Intensely fruity on the nose, with spicy flavors that follow and expand across the palate. This has excellent grip and depth, along with balancing acidity and structure. Plum, kirsch and concentrated cherry flavors pop out. It's a wine of refined power.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Always in the running for one of the top Grenache outside of the South of France, the 2017 Grenache God Only Knows reveals a medium ruby/purple hue as well as a gorgeous nose of framboise, wild strawberries, sweet mulch, sappy flowers, ground pepper, and liquid violets. This carries to a medium to full-bodied, Burgundian Grenache that has a great mid-palate, an opulent, powerful yet ethereal mouthfeel, ripe tannins, and a solid spine of acidity. It’s the finest vintage I’ve tasted of this cuvée, blending remarkable intensity with a sense of elegance and purity that’s something to behold. Give bottles another year or three and enjoy over the following decade.
The subtlety of fruit here is mesmerizing with sweet strawberry, floral and tangerine aromas that follow through to a medium to full body, fine and soft tannins and a long, delicious finish. It shows such polish and fineness.
The 2017 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard displays a beautiful ruby color and offers up from aromas of wild raspberry and smoked cherry with an underlying savory tone of rosemary and lavender bushes after a dust storm. Medium to full-bodied, the wine is supple and ripe with a polished shine to the mid-palate, showing a balanced structure that is floral and lifted with a high-toned red fruit sensation. Showing fine-grained tannins, aligned with a soft umami character, the long-lingering finish delivers pleasure for more than a minute. The 2017 is showing beautifully now and is approachable in youth but has the propensity to age for a decade or more.
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.
Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. While Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha), today it is more recognized as the key player in the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its villages. Somm Secret—The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic, single varietal Grenache (there called Cannonau). California, Washington and Australia have achieved found success with Grenache, both flying solo and in blends.