I caught up with Christoph Baron of Cayuse at the 2023 TexSom conference to taste through some of his wines. Cayuse are responsible for the development of the remarkable river-stone terroir of the Rocks of Milton Freewater in Walla Walla, a winegrowing area that spans both Washington State and Oregon – the rocks are actually in Oregon. All these wines come from stony terroirs.
You can read more about Christoph in this interview from a few years back: https://wineanorak.com/2019/10/15/cayuse-discovering-the-stones/
This is a separate project headed up by Cayuse winemaker Elizabeth Bourcier, and the grapes come from the La Pacienca vineyard which is on the rocks. First vintage was 2011.
No Girls Double Lucky 8 2019 Walla Walla
This is Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo, mainly from young vines. Lovely meat, spice and pepper notes with vibrant raspberry and cherry fruit. There’s some cured meat character here that works really well. Vibrant, energetic and so interesting. 94/100
No Girls Tempranillo 2019 Walla Walla
This is French oak, 10% new. Lovely concentration and flavours of cherry, plums, berries and spice. Nice concentration here with good structure but also some generosity. Grippy, grainy and textural. 94/100
Cayuse Cailloux Vineyard Syrah 2019 Walla Walla
From the original Cailloux vineyard planted in 1997. This is richly textural and lush but also has notes of meat, spice and pepper with lovely iron and blood notes adding savoury detail. So textured and broad, and really distinctive. Has great definition. 96/100
Horsepower is a remarkable project. Four small vineyards on the rocks, planted at very high density sur echalas (each vine individually staked), and all worked with horses.
Horsepower Fiddleneck Vineyard 2019 Walla Walla
This is mainly Grenache with some Syrah, 100% whole cluster, no new oak. Concentrated and mineral this is fine, and super-elegant. Lovely red cherries and strawberries, with amazing texture and complex notes of stones and iodine. Some fine cured meat notes. A remarkable wine showing incredible finesse. 97/100