Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cayuse garners top scores again from Wine Spectator

Harvey Steinman, the Washington wine reviewer for the Wine Spectator, was one of the first reviewers to champion Cayuse way back in the early 2000's. It was actually his review of the 2001 Bionic Frog that got me curious about a frenchman making wine in Walla Walla. Thousands of dollars later, I'm obsessed. Harvey, my wife holds you personally responsible for my unhealthy passion for what she calls, "Just a winery." Just a winery? Who the hell does she think she is? Doesn't she know Christophe makes the most unique wines in the universe? That if it wasn't for Cayuse, I may still be drinking overpriced Cali cab? She is my wife, so apparently I'm supposed to give her a pass. Don't mess with my Cayuse!

Back to the blog post already in progress...Every Wednesday afternoon, the Wine Spectator emails out this "Insider" list of just reviewed wines to their online subscribers. These are usually more well-known wineries or hot wines. Harvey usually publishes his Cayuse reviews sometime in April so I've been sitting on the proverbial pins and needls since April 1st. Yesterday, that day finally came. Six Cayuse wines were included in the report and here were the results (all wines were from the 07 vintage axcept the Armada which was the 06)...

06 Armada -- 97
07 Bionic Frog -- 95
07 Cailloux -- 95
07 En Cerise -- 95
07 En Chamberlin -- 94
07 Widowmaker -- 91

Great scores for yet another terrific vintage of wines from Christophe and the gang. Nice to see the Armada start to get its proper due. While the Frog has long been my favorite Cayuse wine, the 06 Armada practically knocked me on my ass. Here is my tasting note on it...

Splash decanted this beast for about 15 mintues and then poured it back into the bottle. Before pouring it back into the bottle, I decided some sniffs were in order. Boy am I glad my right hand was firmly planted on the counter as the smell of this wine literally almost knocked me on my ass. 100 point nose for me. Stinky animal fur, rare game meat, cabbage, sour pickles, and even a little raspberry. I showed amazing restraint (generally not a word that describes me) and did not pour myself a glass, instead waiting until dinner. After a Donnhoff and an aged CdP, I was salivating as my glass was filled. Ruby red with flecks of purple, the nose continued its display of perfection. More meat, cabbage, fur, and bacon. I finally took a taste and realized this wine possesses some kind of crazed intensity that reminded me of Mike Singletary, eyes wide, circa 1985 and I was the trembling quarterback across the line of scrimmage. Every note and nuance seems to be magnified in this wine. The fruit and game meat, especially. The length leads me to believe this wine will age for years. As good as this wine is now, it needs some time to settle down but when it does--lookout!

If you have never had the opoortunity to taste a wine from Cayuse, what is your problem? Go out and get one, drink it, and report back!!


  1. I haven't had either of the 06 Frog or the 06 Armada Syrah, however I was surprised to see that the Frog below the Armada. Were you? Do you think Harvey was surprised when the bags were pulled off the wines and he gave the highest score to the Armada?? It is also the highest score Harvey has given Cayuse EVER and ties for the highest score given to a Washington wine in Spectator (with 06 Royal City) can't wait to see how the 07 Armada and Royal City score!! The only 07 I have only had is the Cailloux 07, it was the best Cailloux I have ever had. I am glad to see that the Cailloux is getting is dues from Harvey.

  2. gj,
    I was surprised that Harvey gave the Armada a better score than the Frog just from the sense that he hasn't always liked the Armada (scores 83,92,92) but has always loved the Frog (scores 92, 96, 93, 96, 94, 95, 96). Personally, the 04 and 06 Armada that I've had recently were freakin' spectacular. It is nipping on the heels of the Frog for sure.

    The Cailloux Vineyard wines have been getting better and better with each successive vintage, so I agree with you there. I think I'll pop one this weekend!!