The point is to create an honest wine that has an identity. You want to taste the place.
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:
Coccinelle—It’s the French word for “ladybug,” and this 4.5-acre was first planted in 1998. Bionic Frog Syrah is produced from this vineyard.
En Cerise—Literally translated, it means “cherry”—appropriate since this 10-acre vineyard planted in 1998 was a cherry orchard in its former life. En Cerise Vineyard Syrah and grapes for the Flying Pig and Camaspelo Bordeaux blends are grown here.
En Chamberlin—2000 saw the planting of 10 more rocky acres. This vineyard produces The Widowmaker Cabernet Sauvignon, Impulsivo Tempranillo and En Chamberlin Syrah.
Armada—At 1815 vines per acre, this 16-acre vineyard, created in 2001, was the highest density planting in the Walla Walla Valley until 2008. Notable wines include Armada Vineyard Syrah, God Only Knows Grenache and Edith Grenache Rosé.
Sur Echalas Vineyard—Replacing Armada as the highest density planting in the Walla Walla Valley and most likely North America, the vines of this 2-acre vineyard snuggle together in 3' x 3' spacing equaling 4840 vines per acre.
The Tribe Vineyard--Ajacent to En Chamberlin, this 3-acre vineyard is planted sur echalas or "on the stakes" in French, as there is one vine per stake. The vines enjoy close proximity to each other with 3.5' x 3.5' spacing, totaling 3555 vines per acre.
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