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Cayuse Impulsivo Tempranillo 2009

Tempranillo from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE94
  • RP93
  • WS92
14.6% ABV
  • RP97
  • WE94
  • WS92
  • RP97
  • WS94
  • WE93
  • RP97
  • WE94
  • WS90
  • RP96
  • RP100
  • WE93
  • WS90
  • RP98
  • RP98
  • WS90
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14.6% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
Dark and smoky, this wine is relatively tannic and emphasizes flavors of leaf, bark, root and herb. There's plenty of depth and exceptional power to this wine, which seems unique among New World Tempranillos.
Cellar Selection
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Baron's 2009 Impulsivo – from his En Chamberlin vineyard, partly fermented and entirely aged in 70% new 600-liter casks – is scented with smoky cigar ash and tar, supplemented by beet root, and licorice, that collectively instantly give away its being Tempranillo. After the high-toned aromatics, textural refinement, dynamic interplay, and diverse allusions to things mineral that nearly all other 2009 Cayuse offerings had in common, it's a bit difficult coming to terms with something as opaque and massive as this wine, which at one and the same time displays creaminess yet also underlying tannic grit. (So I hope I haven't under-estimated it on account of tasting context.) Saliva-inducing salinity is, thankfully, another Cayuse common denominator on exhibit here and adds enormous appeal to a finish almost dour in its dense, smoky, metaphorically darkly-hued, palate-staining persistence. I suspect that this will reward more than a decade in bottle.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Supple, refined and distinctive for its flavors of black olive and black cherry, with hints of rosemary and thyme on the finish. Offers depth and immense appeal.
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Cayuse

Cayuse

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Cayuse, Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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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.

Walla Walla Valley

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Responsible for some of Washington’s most highly acclaimed wines, the Walla Walla Valley has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. It is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers. Though it is cooler and wetter than most of Washington State’s viticultural areas, irrigation from the Columbia River is still common, though some vineyards on the rainier eastern end of the AVA are able to dry farm.

The conditions in the Walla Walla Valley are perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of black olives, smoke, bacon fat, and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are produced in a range of styles from smooth and supple to tannic and structured. White varieties are a relative rarity here. Sauvignon Blanc is sometimes blended with Sémillon in the style of Bordeaux white blends, resulting in a richer, rounder version take on the variety. Plantings of Viognier are minimal, but often quite successful.

Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. It is important throughout Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz and is an important component of Port wines and the table wines of the Douro region that Port calls home. California, Washington, and Oregon have all had moderate success with Tempranillo, producing a riper, more fruit-forward style of wine.

In the Glass

Tempranillo is often aged in new oak for the integration of spicy, woodsy, and herbal flavors, often with hints of vanilla, coconut, and dill. The grape itself produces medium-weight reds with bright red and black fruit aromas and hints of spice, leather, and tobacco, with no shortage of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity make it extremely food friendly, pairing with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew, or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a system is in place to indicate on the label how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release, which is helpful to the consumer trying to determine the style of an unfamiliar wine. Rioja can range from Joven (fresh, fruity, and unoaked) to Gran Reserva (complex and oxidized from extended barrel aging), with Crianza and Reserva in between.

YAO127881_2009 Item# 127881