99pts Jeb Dunnuck
Lots of Graves-like smoked earth, tobacco, and cold fireplace notes emerge from the 2018 Syrah En Chamberlin Vineyard. It shows more classic gamey Syrah notes with air, offering ample amounts of bloody blue fruits, iron, and peppered meat nuances. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and nicely concentrated on the palate, with gorgeous tannins, it has the purity and elegance that's the hallmark of the vintage, no hard edges, and a great finish. It's just another spectacular, singular Syrah from this estate that will benefit from short-term cellaring and keep for 20+ years.
Christophe Baron grew up among the vineyards and cellars of his family's centuries-old Champagne house, Baron Albert. His sense of adventure, however, led him to become the first Frenchman to establish a winery in Washington State.
While visiting the Walla Walla Valley in 1996, Christophe spotted a plot of land that had been plowed up to reveal acres of softball-sized stones. This stony soil, this terroir, was just like that of some of the most prestigious French appellations. The difficult ground would stress the grapevines, making them produce more mature, concentrated fruit.
He named his vineyard after the Cayuse, a Native American tribe whose name was taken from the French cailloux--which means, rocks. Hours of back-breaking work later, Cayuse Vineyards has become five vineyards encompassing 41 acres.
The majority is planted with Syrah, and the rest dedicated to Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Tempranillo and Viognier. All of the vineyards are planted in rocky earth within the Walla Walla Valley appellation. Cayuse was the first winery in Washington State to use biodynamic farming methods.