“Imagine having to choose between your ideal fantasy sexual partner and this wine—and you choose The Frog! That's how good it is”
—Jay Miller,
The Wine Advocate

Bionic Frog Syrah

Produced: 2000 - present

Professional reviews and tasting notes from prior vintages added as published. Scores within parentheses indicate barrel samples:

2012

99 Points. The 2012 Syrah Bionic Frog is another exceedingly structured, concentrated Syrah from this estate that will require patience. Scorched earth, chocolate, mineral, black pepper and assorted black fruits give way to a full-bodied, beautifully proportioned 2012 that has fantastic purity, solid mid-palate concentration and building tannin. Give it 2-4 years and enjoy through 2027.
–Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2011

96 Points. The 2011 Syrah Bionic Frog is another rocking Syrah from Christophe that does everything right. Creme de cassis, blackberry, smoked earth, toasted spice and violets emerge from the glass, and it flows onto the palate with full-bodied richness, beautiful purity of fruit and brilliant length. Gaining more minerality with time in the glass, it will continue to flesh out nicely with another handful of years in the cellar, and have two decades of ultimate longevity.
–Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

96(+?) Points. Dark red with a hint of ruby. Kaleidoscopic scents and flavors of black raspberry, minerals, bacon fat, tree bark, black pepper, black olive and sesame paste. Densely packed yet sharply delineated and gripping, conveying a powerful impression of dry extract. Extremely fine-grained and not a particularly sweet style. A Syrah of extraordinary energy, complexity and spicy lift, finishing with superb tannic grip and outstanding slowly building length. For all its structure, there’s nothing hard about this incredible wine. The 10% new oak component here was a foudre, not a barrique. Christophe Baron racked his 2011 Syrahs only for the bottling in the spring of 2013.
–Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

2010

100 Points. This insanely good 2010 Syrah Bionic Frog offers incredible notes of blood orange, liquid violets, cassis, seared meats, licorice and crushed rocks to go with full-bodied richness, ultra-fine tannic structure, perfectly integrated acidity and a blockbuster finish. Raised in roughly 20% new demi-muids and foudre, this is a heavenly Syrah that couldn’t get any better. Give it 2-4 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2030. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. Dark and peppery, this vibrates with mineral and black olive overtones, featuring a supple core of dark plum and spice flavors, finishing with remarkable intensity, tension and refinement. Shows power, exuberance and finesse in equal measure. Best from 2014 through 2020. 360 cases made.
–Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

96+ Points. The deepest colored of the Syrahs, the 2010 Syrah Bionic Frog is a smoking 100% Syrah that comes from the Coccinelle (“Ladybug” in French) Vineyard, which is a four- acre plot that was planted to Syrah in 1998. Showing beautifully from bottle (I first tasted this from barrel close to two years ago), it offers up a deep, layered and complex aromatic profile of black currants, smoked herbs, mulch, game and hints of pepper. This flows to a full-bodied, ethereally textured Syrah that has surprising polish, building richness and a rock star finish that doesn’t lack for length. A classic Bionic Frog that has both richness and elegance, it will benefit from another year or three in the cellar and shine for 15+ years. Drink 2015-2025.
–Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2009

97+ Points. Like the 2009 Cailloux, the 2009 Syrah Bionic Frog was closed aromatically, yet offered incredible depth, richness and purity on the palate. Reluctantly giving up lots of dark fruits, chocolate, mineral and roasted herbs, as well as more exotic notes of blood orange and mint, this inky colored, full-bodied, beautifully concentrated Syrah should be forgotten for 3-4 years, yet will have 20 years or more of overall longevity. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. Cayuse’s 2009 Syrah Bionic Frog originates in the Coccinelle Vineyard, planted in 1998, which features iron-rich clay with significant fine earth run-off from the nearby Blue Mountains, and, paradoxically, dries out quickest. In more ways than one, it’s the opposite of En Chamberlin. “This is, 90% of the time, the Syrah that we pick first,” notes Baron, “which was September 24 in 2009.” Vinification was in concrete (though future vintages will ferment in recently-arrived wooden uprights), and the mix of barrels – all Dominique Laurent’s self-styled “magic barriques” (which until 2011 was the favored medium for this bottling) – was around 20-30% new. Baron and Bourcier explain how they like what these barrels have done for the Bionic Frog, but, adds Baron: “My style of wine should not be based on a cooper, and I don’t want to be dependent on one man’s barrel.” Red and black raspberries as well as cherries – seemingly simultaneously in confitured, fresh, and distilled formats – are mingled with nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, black tea and salted caramel on the nose; and then again on a strikingly bright, sappy palate, leading to a finish of rapier penetration and compulsive saliva-inducement. The charm, mystery, and intricacy exhibited by a couple of other splendid wines in the present collection might be missing here, but the sheer energy, persistence, and, for lack of a better word, umami-savor are amazing. It’s a brave man who would want to forsake the “formula” behind this bit of alchemy, even if it depends on barrels whose alleged secret is guarded by an almost eccentrically passionate Burgundian winemaker! Almost unbelievably, Baron informs me that he thinks this wine is “shy and in its shell” right now; but I’m not buying that to the extent of including a plus sign or a plus with question mark after my score! Only around half the fruit was destemmed for this, incidentally; Baron says it was Verset who inspired him to the potential of vendange entier. This should be well worth following for 15 or more years.
–David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. The Frog...shows inviting notes of violets and strawberries, and it gains concentration through the midpalate, with additions of cherry and an almost liquid minerality. An almost delicate version of this wine. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

94(+?) Points. Good bright medium red. Enticing, perfumed aromas of medicinal black cherry, mocha, pepper and star anise. Extremely tight and very pure, with a sneaky sweetness to the essentially silky flavors of raspberry, pepper and flowers. Maintains its impressive breadth and silky texture through the very long, rising finish. For all its energy today, this wine strikes me as extremely closed and in need of patience.
–Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

94 Points. Focused, with nice density to the juicy blueberry and black plum flavors, hinting at black pepper, Lapsang souchong tea and tar as the finish sails on and on. Shows presence and depth, deftly balanced on the finish. Drink now through 2019.
–Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2008

97 Points. I thought the 2008 Syrah Bionic Frog was insanely good. Checking in at 14.4% natural alcohol (the 2009 was 14.7 and the 2010 14.8), it has soaring notes of cassis, black raspberries, violets, white flowers, mint and olives to go with a full-bodied, ultra-pure, silky, yet concentrated and layered feel on the palate. One of the more elegant, silky and finesse driven examples of this cuvee, it has heavenly aromatics and will have upward of two decades of longevity. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

100 Points. Initially a rather subdued Frog; as if it has been tamed down. Then, suddenly, There’s a plush core of blackberry fruit, and the classic Cayuse funkiness is there, drenched in liquid rocks and cured meat and drying tannins. It’s all in proportion and a fine reflection of the steely vintage. As it opens gracefully you discover that it is a stunningly refined Frog, quite possibly the best ever; powerful and distinctive, but also elegant, feminine.
–Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

99 Points. The 2008 Syrah Bionic Frog strikes me as the most complex of the Rhone-style offerings. Smoke, game, exotic spices, black truffle, and assorted black and blue fruits lead to a lengthy, impeccably balanced, pleasure-bent offering that will drink nicely for 10-12 years. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. ...Game larded with bacon and sage practically reaches out from the glass and slaps your nose. Tight and firm on initial entry, among this wine’s more striking evocations are herbal pungency as well as saliva-inducing salinity, soy-like savor, and smoky roast goose pan drippings, but it’s endowed as well with intensely ripe and correspondingly luscious fresh cherry and cassis. As it opens in the glass, remarkable high-toned as well as musky floral essences emerge, as if a distillate of iris, hyacinth and narcissus. This finishes with a superbly mouth-coating persistence, as spice box, forest floor, and wet stone elements add to its many dynamic strands of flavor. I suspect it will be riveting to follow for at least another decade. –David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. Bright dark red. Multidimensional nose delivers black raspberry, brown sugar, smoky cardamom and black olive. Superconcentrated, sappy and rich, showing a rare blend of power and delicacy. No single element dominates this outstanding syrah; flavors of red and black fruits, pepper and spices wash over the palate in a wave. Finishes with very fine tannins and great persistence.
–Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

2007

96 Points. The 2007 Syrah Bionic Frog is perfumed and complex, with gorgeous garrigue, dried flowers, olive tapenade and liquid rock aromas balanced nicely by a core of sweet red and black raspberry fruit. I’d like to see more mid-palate depth here, but this is pure silk on the palate and it shows the sexy, supple nature of the vintage beautifully. Possessing lots of polished tannin, beautifully pure fruit and no shortage of length, it’s a beautiful wine to enjoy anytime over the coming decade. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

99 Points. The 2007 Bionic Frog Syrah surrenders a splendid aromatic array of forest floor, herbs, olives, bacon, underbrush, blueberry, and black cherry. This is followed by a voluptuous wine with gobs of succulent fruit, impeccable balance, enough fine-grained tannin to evolve for 5-7 years, and a lengthy, seductive finish. Give it 5-7 years of additional cellaring and drink it from 2015 to 2027. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. This has tremendous presence, graceful but forceful, playing out its plum, currant, black pepper and licorice flavors against a background that hints at warm granite, cinnamon bark and bay leaf. Complex and harmonious. Drink now through 2020. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

95 Points. The Cayuse 2007 Syrah Bionic Frog emphasizes sappy, bittersweet, dark berry and herbal concentrates on a palate whose plushness, viscosity, and fine grain of tannin resemble those of Cailloux from the same vintage tasted alongside. Brown spices, peat-like smokiness, and medicinal elements that straddle the borders of mineral, herbal and fruit character all lead to a superbly long, soothing finish...
–David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

2006

99 Points. All of Christophe’s 2006 were stunners, and the 2006 Syrah Bionic Frog excels for its massive core of fruit, smoked herbs, chocolate, licorice and meaty aromatics. Brooding, backward, meaty and a little bloody, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness and big structure, yet always stays balanced, pure and layered. It’s a joy to drink today, but will cruise for another 10-15 years. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

99 Points. The 2006 Bionic Frog Syrah has an awesome perfume that jumps from the glass. Notes of forest floor, underbrush, mushrooms, liquid minerals, blueberry, and black cherry lead to a remarkably succulent, voluptuous wine that is entirely seductive. Imagine having to choose between your ideal fantasy sexual partner and this wine – and you choose The Frog! That’s how good it is. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. Ripe, complex, harmonious and multilayered, weaving its green olive, tobacco, ironstone and mineral flavors deftly through the ripe blackberry, boysenberry and plum flavors, finishing long and expressive. Best from 2011 through 2018. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2005

98+ Points. Another blockbuster vintage, the 2005 Syrah Bionic Frog is one of the more masculine and structured in the lineup. Chocolate, crushed rocks, wood smoke, iodine and spiced meats all give way to a full-bodied, deeply concentrated, rich and structured Syrah that needs another 2-3 years to fully flesh out. While its masculine, meaty character dominated at first, it showed more and more layers with time in the glass. It should be at its best from 2017-2030. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

99 Points. The kinkiest of the Syrahs is the 2005 Bionic Frog which was made with 25% stems. It was aged in Dominique Laurent barrels, 30% new. Purple/black-colored, it has a sexy perfume of earth notes, mineral, spice box, and blueberry. Layered, opulent, and super-rich, the finish just goes on and on. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. Lithe, focused and generous with its blackberry, cherry and exotic spice flavors, picking up a stony minerality as the finish turns silky and refined. Each sip turns the wine in a slightly different direction, suggesting this will develop remarkable complexity as it ages. Best from 2010 through 2017. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2004

99 Points. Coming close to matching the 2010, the 2004 Syrah Bionic Frog (which was also a cool vintage) came from tiny yields of 16 hectoliter per hectare. It’s an incredibly beautiful Syrah that exhibits lots of saltiness in its cassis and currant-like fruits, licorice, olive brine and crushed rock-like minerality. These all come together perfectly on the palate, where the wine is full-bodied, layered and awesomely pure, plus has a killer finish. It’s another monumental effort from this estate that will stand toe to toe with the greatest Syrah in the world. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

99 Points. The 2004 Bionic Frog "Coccinella Vineyard" was aged in 100% Dominique Laurent "magic cask" barrels, 25% of them new. Opaque purple-colored, the wine has a fabulous perfume of violets and lavender as well grilled meat, game, and blueberry compote. Dense, powerful yet elegant, this splendid effort demands a decade of cellaring and should drink well through 2045. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. Glows with plum and spice aromas, then gets serious on the palate, with layers of tar, molasses and coffee to meld with the plum and cherry flavors. The subtle finish lingers and lingers. Drink now through 2014. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

96 Points. Smooth, supple and full-flavored, The Bionic Frog shows the characteristic uber-funk that it is known for. But in this new vintage it seems to be a bit less in-your-face than previously. There's plenty of wild herb, beef blood and silage to go around; but the flavors are already fully integrated, the wine viscous and plush with an intensely spicy quality. This is beautiful, thick and meaty yet still lifted through the finish, which keeps adding new scents and flavors as it sails along-vanilla, clove and baking spices. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

2003

96 Points. Has amazing density, a wine of immense depth, wrapping silky tannins around plum, mineral, blackberry, prune and meat flavors, hinting at dark chocolate and walnut as the finish rolls on and on. Drink now through 2015.
–Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

95 Points. More ripe, voluptuous and decadent, if not with hints of overripeness, the 2003 Syrah Bionic Frog offers tons of plum, licorice, spice-cake and chocolatey notes to go with a rocking, full-bodied, sexy and concentrated feel on the palate. This beast of a wine won’t be for everyone, but it dishes out incredible amounts of pleasure. I like it now, and don’t think it’s going to get any better, but it will easily evolve nicely for another decade. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2002

97 Points. A classic wine, the 2002 Syrah Bionic Frog, which wasn’t harvested until October 10 and was raised in 50% new oak, offers beautiful, chalky minerality, marine-like saltiness, olive brine, currants and cassis-driven aromas and flavors. Possessing beautiful purity, with an underlying elegance that shows with more time in the glass, drink it anytime over the coming decade. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2001

98 Points. Another beauty that has a classic feel, the 2001 Syrah Bionic Frog doesn’t skimp on ripeness and has lots of truffle, chocolate, licorice and assorted mature Syrah-like aromas and flavors. Still full-bodied and concentrated, with sweet tannin, it has another 15 years of longevity. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2000

95 Points. The first vintage and from third-leaf fruit, the 2000 Syrah Bionic Frog (which came from yields of less than 1 ton per acre) is still a youthful ruby color and offers lots of currant and blackberry fruit mixed with notions of cured meats, black olive, truffle and spice-box. Complex, layered and nuanced, this full-bodied beauty is still lively and textured on the palate, has nicely integrated acidity and should keep fresh and lively over the coming 5-7 years.

Back to top.

Back to wines.

Members

Log inLogin to your Cayuse Vineyards web account.