“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

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

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. 96 Points.
–Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2010

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. 97 Points.
–Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

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. 96+ Points.
–Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2009

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. 96 Points.
–David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

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. 95 Points. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

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. 94(+?) Points.
–Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

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. 94 Points.
–Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2008

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. 100 Points.
–Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

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. 99 Points. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

...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. 96 Points. –David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

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. 96 Points.
–Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

2007

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. 99 Points. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

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. 96 Points. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

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...95 Points.
–David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

2006

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. 99 Points. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

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. 96 Points. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2005

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. 99 Points. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

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. 95 Points. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2004

Red-ruby. Musky, complex nose melds raspberry, smoke, fresh herbs and gunflint. Thick and dense, with a fatness of texture similar to the 2003 En Chamberlin. This, too, suggests a high pH. Wilder than the 2003 was at the same stage, perhaps a tad less primary and more evolved. Finishes long and fat, with smooth, sweet tannins and terrific breadth. 92 Points. –Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

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. 99 Points. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

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. 94 Points. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

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. 96 Points –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

2003

Full ruby-red. Superripe, highly complex nose offers gingerbread, espresso, saddle leather, mocha, brown spices, pepper and earth. Suave, superconcentrated, broad and thick, but kept firm by rather gripping acidity. This shows a distinctly more primary fruit character than the more forward Cailloux Vineyard bottling, along with varietally typical notes of herbs and black pepper and plenty of spine. A big boy, finishing fat and sweet, with melting tannins. I'd enjoy the Cailloux before attacking the Frog. 92+ Points. –Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

Dark fruits and sweet notes of horse sweat can be detected in the nose of the 2003 Syrah Bionic Frog. A powerful, well-delineated wine that is packed with cassis, blackberries, and black raspberries, this medium-bodied effort also boasts a long, ripe, tannin-revealing finish. It is highly expressive, suave, and fruit-dominated. Drink it over the next 6 years. 92 Points. –Pierre Rovani, The Wine Advocate

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. 96 Points.
–Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

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