Monday, November 16, 2009

2008 Cayuse and Reynvaan barrel tasting notes...

Spent about 2 1/2 hours inside "the box" on Saturday and came away impressed as usual. There always seems to be a theme across the board/vintage when doing a Cayuse tasting. The theme for the 08's came straight from Christophe's mouth -- "Iron, Blood, and Liquid Rock!" He was spot on as these wines possessed a level of minerality unparalleled in Washington as well as some nice meaty/blood overtones. I was also surprised at how accessible the wines felt. Usually, the Frog, Widowmaker, and Impulsivo are a little tight and not quite open for business but tasted terrific on this day. On to the wines...

2008 Cayuse Edith Rose -- 100% grenache. Don't seem to be a fan of this until it gets in bottle. Last year it seemed like a light pink viognier but was terrific out of bottle a month ago. Same this year. Some strawberry and metal. Decent acidity. Look forward to drinking oen next summer. 87-89pts.

2008 Cayuse Flying Pig -- 60% cab franc/40% merlot. This wine keeps getting better with each successive vintage. Aromas of poblanos, juicy plums, herbs. Layers of peppers, ripe blackberries, and black cherries with some stout tannins. 93-95 pts.

2008 Cayuse Camaspelo -- 80% cab/20% merlot. This wine always seems to be treated as the red-headed stepchild of the group. While not my favorite Cayuse wine, it always tastes good. Herbal-ly, musky, with some nice red/black fruits. Tannins and alcohol integrated nicely. Very nice. 89-91pts.

2008 Cayuse Cailloux Syrah -- This vineyard probably has improved the most year to year. Big punch in the face of dark ripe fruit, earth, violets, smoky spice. Lush and velvety with balanced layers of earthy goodness and roasted fruit. Pretty damn good. 94-96pts.

2008 Cayuse En Cerise Syrah -- Kind of the surprise of the tasting for me. Not much cherry for me, which I always seem to get. More game meat, blood, and crushed rock. Much more complex than previous vintages. Smoky meat, dark cherries, and some pomegranate. Very impressive. 93-95pts.

2008 Cayuse En Chamberlin Syrah -- The funk is toned down just a bit this year. Leaving behind super-concentrated dark fruit, rare meat, saline, black tea, concrete. Always so good. 94-96pts.

2007 Cayuse Armada Syrah -- There was a palpable buzz going on around the room that this was a stunner. True dat! Powerful and beast-like, this puppy was a punch to your taste buds. Tons of black pepper, seaweed, baking spice, blood, pork, black cherries, coffee, chocolate. So much potential. 96-98pts.

2008 Bionic Frog Syrah -- I was surprised at how approachable this was. Most of the time, the barrel samples of the Frog are fairly tight. Huge ripe fruit, hints of scorched earth, bacon fat, iron, funk, fur, dried blood. Everything to keep a growing boy happy. I think this wine possess greatness. 97-100pts.

2007 Cayuse God Only Knows Grenache -- Continue to be impressed with the femininity and grace of this wine. Pretty, floral aromatics with strawberries, herbs, earth, raspberries, pomegranate, dried oregano. Not a huge wine, but it doesn't need to be. Elegant and satisfying. 93-95pts.

2008 Cayuse Widowmaker -- 100% cab. Much more cab-like than in previous vintages. Gone is most of the herbs but what is left is a powerful, meaty cab. Black currants, smoky plums, black raspberries, ripe tannins, game. Long life ahead. 93-95pts.

2008 Cayuse Impulsivo -- 100% tempranillo. Huge wine. Deep and dark with massive structure. Seemed to have more fruit this year versus the savory components of the 06. Dark raspberries, blackberries, plums with some cabbage and meat. Needs a little time to come together but when it does, lookout! 95-97pts.

We were also lucky enough to venture into the back room with Christophe and sample some 09's that were about 2 weeks old.

2009 Cayuse En Chamberlin Syrah -- Now I know what a monkey's ass smells like. Now I know that I like what a monkey's ass smells like. Guess I'm "that guy!" I can already tell this EC will have the stuff I love.

2009 Cayuse Cailloux Syrah -- Much more tame than the EC. Tasting fairly good as it goes the malo. Hard to say but my glass was empty.

2009 Cayuse Armada Syrah -- Already powerful. Game and earth. Shaping up to be a great vintage.

After Cayuse, we ventured up to my new favorite producer, Reynvaan. I was very impressed with their debut vintage that I tasted first in July, so looking forward to giving the 08's a go. They have added one syrah to their lineup, "The Unnamed Syrah." After drinking it, I think the name should be "Damn Good." They were also pouring the 07's again which was a terrific surprise. If you are not on their list, get on it. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but right freakin' now!

2008 Reynvann Syrah The Unnamed -- Big, powerful, and structured. Ripe concentrated fruit with steely tannins. This may have been a little lightly wound but was still giving off the promise of a damn good wine. I'm going to be a buyer. 92-94pts.

2008 Reynvaan Syrah In the Rocks -- Not quite as big as the Unnamed, this had aromas of white flowers, blackberries, bacon, and just a touch of earth. Concentrated dark fruit in the mouth with firm tannins. Another successful follow-up to the 07's. 92-94pts.

2008 Reynvaan Syrah The Contender -- Wow, is all I can say. Well, I can say a lot of other things but this is a famliy BB! Drop dead gorgoeus nose with violets up the wazoo. This wine possesses such strength and power but is also extremely elegant. Crushed blackberries/raspberries, meat, smoke, umami. A Certain contender for wine of the day. 95-97pts.

2007 Reynvaan Syrah In the Rocks -- This puppy has all grown up since July. I thought this was just a step below The Contender back then, but it has caught up. Smoky fruit, ripe tannins, earth, tad of funk, weighty mouthfeel. Delicious. 94pts.

2007 Reynvaan Syrah The Contender -- Lush, with concentrated dark blue/black fruit. Smoky elegance. Very complex for such a young wine. Can't wait to drink another. 94pts.


  1. That is a lot of tasting. Must be interresting to taste something that was just harvested a few months ago to get the feel for how the whole process pans out.

    Where is Cayuse? My apologies if you said and I missed it. We're in Spokane.

    I enjoy your blog and am adding it to my blog roll. You're welcome to check out mine (growing and learning)


  2. Josh,
    Thanks for the kind words. I don't get my comments on my posts so it's nice to know at least one person reads them!

    Cayuse is in the Wall Walla Valley just over the Washington border in Oregon. Although, we will always embrace Cayuse as our own.

    Thanks for adding me to your blogroll and I'll certainly check your out. Cheers...Jared