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Anthony Gismondi on Wine

Washington's Cayuse Vineyards has become the first completely bio-dynamic winery in the State, according to vigneron and owner of Christophe Baron.

Washington's Cayuse Vineyards has become the first completely bio-dynamic winery in the State, according to vigneron and owner of Christophe Baron.

 

Over the past few months Cayuse has consulted Philippe Armenier, a biodynamic farming specialist and previous owner of Domaine de Marcoux in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Employing Armenier's advice, Cayuse was able to complete its biodynamic conversion in all its vineyards by late 2002.

 

Baron first visited the Walla Walla Valley in 1996, when he happened upon a plot of land that had been recently ploughed up to reveal acres of softball-sized stones. The stony soil immediately reminded him of some of the great French appellations like Châteauneuf du Pape.

 

He named his vineyard after the Cayuse, a Native American tribe whose name was taken from the French cailloux-which means, of course, rocks. Hours of backbreaking work later, Cayuse Vineyards has become five biodynamic farmed estate vineyards over a total of 41 acres: Armada, Cailloux, Coccinelle [Ladybug], En Cerise [Cherry], and En Chamberlin.

 

The majority is planted with Syrah, and the rest dedicated to cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, merlot, mourvèdre, roussanne, tempranillo and viognier. They are highly stressed vineyards average a yield of only two tons per acre (30 hectolitres per hectare). Cayuse specializes in four estate-vineyard syrahs: "Bionic Frog" Syrah, Viognier, and two Bordeaux blends named "Camaspelo" and "Flying Pig." Future release plans include a tempranillo and a Southern-Rhône-inspired blend.

 

Never shy with words Baron says, "Cayuse is 100 per cent estate fruit, 100 per cent French oak, 100 per cent Biodynamic, 100 per cent Walla Walla and 100 per cent rocks which equals 500 per cent French attitude."

Written By: ag
Anthony Gismondi
Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America's most influential voices in wine. For over 30 years, he has been the wine columnist for The Vancouver Sun. The twice-weekly column is distributed across Canada through Postmedia Network to millions of readers. In addition, Anthony co-hosts the BC Food & Wine Radio Show, broadcast in 18 markets across B.C. and available as a podcast on Spotify, Apple and iHeart Radio and more. He launched Gismondionwine.com in 1997, attracting one million users a month from 114 countries. It continues to be a valuable resource of full tasting notes and intelligent wine stories and videos for the trade and consumers.