Cayuse Armada Vineyard Syrah 2016
At 1815 vines per acre, the 7-acre Armada vineyard, created in 2001, was the highest density planting in the Walla Walla Valley until 2008. Notable wines include this Armada Vineyard Syrah, God Only Knows Grenache and Edith Grenache Rosé. Owner/grower/winemaker Christophe Baron thinks this Syrah has the character of a Northern Rhône, boasting an intense animal, earth and mineral character. From the very beginning, Cayuse Vineyards has been farmed organically—without synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, insecticides or fungicides. “Mistreating the earth kills the terroir, and you end up with soils that are sick or dead,” Christophe believes. “It’s a foundation you have to protect.”
In 2002 Cayuse became the first domaine in the Walla Walla Valley to fully implement biodynamic farming—a chemical-free approach designed to produce healthier soil and food. Based on the research of Dr. Rudolph Steiner in the 1920s, the philosophy focuses on the interrelationship of earth, plants and animals as a closed, self-nourishing ecosystem. Followers use an astronomical sowing and planting calendar. Christophe is a Frenchman by birth from the Champagne region, but after years of studying, travelling and making wines around the world, he fell in love with a piece of land in Washington State, with big, beautiful stones.... while others thought those ten acres of Walla Walla Valley farmland were only good for orchards, he saw something different with enormous potential. The terroir reminded him of the cobblestones of the southern Rhone valley and Châteauneuf-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.”
|Region||United States, Washington, Walla Walla Valley|
Wine AdvocateFrom the moment you stick your nose in the glass, you are immediately struck with something special. The 2016 Syrah Armada Vineyard has fantastic focus on the nose, with black fruits and a grippy core of minerality, revealing some soft truffle tones and black spices along the way. Full-bodied on the palate, the wine shows an impressive weight and continues to gain in breadth and depth, expanding and unfolding on the mid-palate. Beautifully structured flavors of cured meats and peppercorn evolve with incredible mineral tension and dusty red fruits, and the wine ends with a long, thought-provoking finish. The Armada Syrah is collector-worthy. The 472-case production leaves me speechless.
Wine EnthusiastAromas of potpourri, smoked meat, earth, cracked pepper and lily lead to a dense, rich palate with intense fruit, savory and floral flavors. The palate shows more overt density than the other wines from this vintage, while remaining lively, energetic and exquisitely balanced. Potpourri and smoked meat linger on and on. Best after 2024.
Wine SpectatorExpressive and slightly racy, with multilayered blackberry, black olive, stony mineral and bacon fat accents that build structure toward big but fine-grained tannins. Best from 2021 through 2027.