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2011 Cayuse Syrah Cailloux Vineyard

2011 Cayuse Syrah Cailloux Vineyard

Single Bottle - Standard - 750ml

Starting bid HK$950.00
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Tasting Notes:

Rich, ripe and generous, this red balances its deep blackberry, licorice and black olive flavors on a pinpoint of lively acidity, persisting on the open-textured finish. Drink now through 2021. 740 cases made.

Tasting Notes:

The 2011 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard is the only Syrah to incorporate a splash of cofermented Viognier, which in some vintages, can be as much as 10% of the blend. Including 5% in 2011, it has a fabulous perfume of crunchy black fruit, crushed rocks, smoked earth and layers of violets and crushed flowers. Straight-up awesome on the palate, with full-bodied richness and a seamless texture, it opens up in the glass, has superb concentration and blockbuster length. Give it another 2-3 years and enjoy bottles through 2026, although it will certainly evolve longer as well. Enough can’t be said about the quality coming from this estate, and Christophe Baron, who’s assisted by Elizabeth Bourcier, produces, in this reviewer’s opinion, some of the most distinctive and exciting wines on the planet. As I said last year, there’s no secret here, and Christophe simply has fantastic terroir, works his ass off in the vineyard (everything is farmed biodynamically), and then gets out of the way in the cellar. Looking at the vintages reviewed here, his 2011s (which come from the lowest yields ever at this estate) check in at the top of the vintage and have uncommon richness and depth. Stating that it was the coolest vintage of his career, Christophe loves the European style of the wines and feels they’ll reward 5-7 years of cellaring. As a group, they show superb aromatics, medium to full-bodied richness and fresh, lively characters. In contrast, the 2012s are flamboyant and decadent, with awesome textures, beautiful purity of fruit and brilliant underlying structure. To my palate, 2012 is up there with finest vintage from this team to date. 2012 is possibly the best vintage I’ve ever tasted from Christophe. Across the board, the wines shows incredible aromatics, awesome purity and full-bodied richness and concentration.

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The story began near the village of Charly-sur-Marne in the Champagne region of France, where a very young Christophe Baron walked the family vineyard with his father and grandfather. He was the youngest of the centuries-old Champagne house, Baron Albert, and his ancestors had worked the land since 1677. Like generations of fathers and sons before, it was in his blood to be a wine grower and creator—a true vigneron. “It’s a title you’re born with, not something you become or learn in school,” Christophe says. “So I followed my dad, and wherever he went, I went. That’s the way it started.” After studying viticulture in Champagne and Burgundy, Christophe realized he wasn’t yet ready to enter the family business and gave in to the urge to travel. “In Burgundy, I had fallen in love with Pinot Noir, and had met some Americans with land in Oregon,” he says. “My English was terrible, but I wanted to go there.” An unexpected internship at a winery brought Christophe to the Walla Walla Valley for the first time in 1993. After one year, he traveled the world gaining experience in Australia, New Zealand, Romania and Oregon. He intended to buy some land and start a vineyard from scratch, but all those plans came to an abrupt halt on an April morning in 1996. Christophe had returned to Walla Walla for a strictly social visit, and was wandering the countryside with a friend. As they drove near the Oregon/Washington border, he spied an open field littered with acres of softball-sized stones. Plans to move to the Willamette Valley were quickly discarded, and Christophe resolved to buy the property and plant a vineyard. While others thought the ten acres of the Walla Walla Valley farmland was only good for orchards he saw something different with enormous potential. The terroir reminded him of the cobblestones of the southern Rhone valley and Châteuneuf-du-Pape in his native France. “I almost fell on my derrière when I saw those stones,” he says. “And I’ve been living the dream ever since.” Christophe purchased the property and planted his first vineyard in 1997. “People said I was crazy, that I’d break my equipment and waste my time and money,” he recalls. “But I knew that vines need to struggle in difficult ground in order to provide their best.” He called the venture Cayuse Vineyards, after a Native American tribe whose name was derived from the French word “cailloux”—which means “stones.” In the following years, it has grown to five vineyards, encompassing a little more than 45 acres. What was considered by many a foolish gamble on that field of stones has been rewarded year after year with some of the most acclaimed wines in the region—and in the nation. “Those stones are the reason I’m here in Walla Walla,” Christophe says.