Cayuse

Basic Info

Perhaps you’ve heard the almost mythical story, how the brash, young French vigneron visited the little-known, redundantly named town and fell in preposterous love with a few acres of useless, stone-covered farmland. While the nay-sayers nayed, Christophe Baron deftly turned that field of stones into the acclaimed Cayuse Vineyards. And the rest, as they say, is history—and a whole lot of spectacular wine. Cayuse is a domaine located in the Walla Walla Valley. Over the past 20 years, Christophe has made it his mission to craft food-friendly wines of incredible depth, individuality and character—all from fruit grown entirely using biodynamic farming methods. Currently, Cayuse farms eight vineyards spread over 60 acres in the Walla Walla Valley. All are planted in the rocky soil that first caught Christophe’s attention in 1996, resulting in highly stressed vineyards that average a yield of only two tons per acre. Syrah is the dominant fruit, with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Tempranillo and Viognier making up the balance. All Cayuse wines are from estate fruit, and Christophe believes their true fingerprints are in the minerality. “The point is to create an honest wine that has an identity,” he says. “You want to taste the place.” As a result, each of his creations is true to the unique terroir of his vineyards. He called the venture Cayuse Vineyards, after a Native American tribe whose name was derived from the French word “cailloux”—which means “stones.” 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.

Country:
USA
Region:
Columbia Valley
Sub region:
Walla Walla Valley
Year founded:
1997
Owner:
Christophe Baron
Winemaker:
Christophe Baron
Organic:
Biodynamic
website:
www.cayusevineyards.com