Spent an unbelievable day with friends a week or so ago touring and tasting with Christophe and Trevor at Cayuse. Suffice it to say, this was the single best wine experience of my life. Of course there are several reasons I'm obsessed with the wines produced by Christophe...the 3x3 vineyard spacing, the extraction of every morsel of flavor from the grapes, the maniacal fanaticism of his wine making process, the firm belief in estate grapes...but the most important reason I'm obsessed is that the wines just do it for me and do it for me in a big way. The 09's from barrel and the 08's that were recently bottled just reinforced my obsession.
Before we besieged the wine studio for a tasting, Christophe and Trevor took us on an extremely educational tour of the Armada Vineyard, the Horsepower Vineyard, and his new vineyard, Tribe. He explained to us how he started with 10x4 spacing and then moved to 6x4 spacing and how the Horsepower and Tribe vineyards are 3x3. The first wines produced commercially by the Horsepower Vineyard with be this year, 2010. When asked how he thought the wines will turn out (grenache and syrah), he replied, "I don't know, we'll see!" He talked about how important it was to him to always push the envelope. That becoming complacent as a winemaker is something that he wouldn't be able to live with, so he is constantly experimenting. He then went on to tell us about a few acres of land he purchased on a hillside where he is going to plant his next vineyard.
At this time, we had worked up quite a thirst so on to the wines...I forgot to mention that we started with the 08 Edith Grenache Rose. This wine has started to come around for me. I thought the first vintage to be a bit light and creamy but this wine was darker with some nice strawberries and bright acidity. I enjoyed it.
09 Barrel Samples
Impulsivo -- Deep and dark. Already exhibiting bright fruit, smoke, pork, minerals. So primary and is going to be a bruiser.
Widowmaker -- Nice cab flavors of cassis and concentrated black fruit. Definite herbal and mineral nuances in the background. Another winner.
God Only Knows Grenache Barrel #4 -- Christophe's face just lit up when he talked about this wine. He told us this was his favorite barrel and that he was going to bottle it in magnums and keep them for himself! Beautiful red color. Herbs, wild strawberries, huge dose of minerality. Killer wine.
I'm fairly certain we tried another wine but for the life of me, I can't recall it! At this point, Christophe started pulling some 08's that they had just bottled. The concern about bottle shock was immediately laughed out of the building as we made an impressive run through the bottles.
08 En Cerise -- The one syrah that I don't have a ton of experience with (probably only drank 4 or 5 bottles). This exhibited the trademark dark cherry fruit with grilled meat. Balanced and pretty polished. These wines are just getting better.
08 Bionic Frog -- Holy shit. This puppy is surprisingly open for business and it's 24/7. First whiff was of blood and iron. Concentrated dark fruit and wild game meat laced with minerals and stone. Has the potential to rival the 03 and 05 as the best Frog ever.
07 GOK Grenache -- The third vintage of this wine and it keeps getting better. Christophe seems to be most proud of this wine. So delicate but possessing so much intensity. Think of a pot of wild strawberries, cherries, and raspberries with a bouquet garni. Can't wait to receive my 6 of these!
05 Cailloux Neutral Barrel -- My third experience with this wine. You've got to be kidding me. The 2nd time I had this wine I bestowed upon it my first ever 100 points. Maybe I need to adopt Parker's new scoring system and give it 102 points this time as it was that good. Funkdified on the nose with herbs, sour fruit, bacon wrapped pork (double pig, baby!), and that dried pineapple thing that is so intriguing. Layers and layers of syrah goodness on the palate. This is essentially, for me, syrah as its best.
I know I'm missing a couple other wines but my notes can't seem to find them! After this, we had an incredible dinner at the Fat Duck Inn with some tasty vino. I'll try and get some notes up for that as well.
Thanks for turning 40, Darren!!!!!