Armada Vineyard Syrah

Produced: 2003 - present

Professional reviews and tasting notes from prior vintages added as published (scores within parentheses indicate barrel samples):


95 Points. Very structured and firmly tannic, this muscular wine comes from tightly spaced vines that give a low yield and lots of concentration. Floral and spicy aromas lead to rich, dark cocoa, blackberry and baked blueberry flavors restrained by the sandy, full tannins. From biodynamically grown grapes. Best from 2029. —James Suckling,


98 Points. Coming from higher density plantings just beside the estate, the 2020 Syrah Armada Vineyard is one of the standouts in the vintage and has a beautiful core of fruit as well as mid-palate density. Ripe black cherries, blackberries, ground pepper, iodine, rose petals, and crushed stone define the aromatics, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a broad, layered mouthfeel, gorgeous tannins, and a great, great finish. This unquestionably competes with the top wines in the vintage. Give bottles 2-4 years in the cellar and enjoy through 2040. —Jeb Dunnuck,

97 Points. 100% Syrah that is aged for 21 months in about 20% new French oak barrels, the 2020 Armada Syrah from Cayuse is a phenomenal wine that deserves your attention. Bigger and heavier than its siblings, it features aromas of bacon fat, ripe boysenberries, forest floor, and touches of smoked sea salt. Tannins are completely integrated, rounded, and sweet, while the acidity balanced the meaty components of the wine on the lengthy finish. Highly recommended. —Jeremy Young, International Wine Report

96 Points. The 2020 Syrah Armada Vineyard is darkly floral. Dusty violet and lavender tones give way to musky black currants and blood orange aromas. Soft and enveloping, this possesses racy acidity that enlivens its tart wild berry fruits, taking on an almost-crunchy sensation toward the close, as nuances of sour citrus add contrast. This finishes with incredible energy and length, leaving a subtle balsamic twang yet remaining remarkably fresh. Impressive, to say the least, the 2020 Armada will win many hearts... This really sneaks up on the taster, and the nose prepares you for a bruiser, but the palate melts your heart. —Eric Guido, Vinous

96 Points. The 2020 Armada Vineyard Syrah is a total stunner from this vintage. Dense and heady, with serious aromatic range, this reveals tar and graphite ones alongside pine needles, salted charcuterie, ripe red raspberry and shades of seaweed. The palate is plush and refined with silky tannins and wonderful viscosity. A great core of red and dark fruits greets you with the stony and salty notes ever present. Finishing very long, enjoy this outstanding Syrah now and over the next five plus years. —Owen Bargreen,

95 Points. Blackcurrants, black cherries, cloves, tobacco, charcoal and smoked meat on the nose. It’s full-bodied with fine-grained yet firm, broad and mouth-coating tannins. Dark and inky. Tight and tense at the end. From biodynamically grown grapes. Try in 2025. —James Suckling,


98+ Points. The 2019 Armada comes from a higher density planting just beside the estate, and it's always a more dense, backward wine. Darker, black fruits, smoked meat, ground pepper, iron, and just subtle bloody, meaty nuances emerge from this beauty, and it's medium to full-bodied on the palate, with building, firm tannins, wonderfully integrated acidity, and a great finish that makes you salivate due to its sense of salinity and minerality. It needs plenty of air if drinking any time soon but is another tour de force in Rocks Syrah! It has 20-25 years of prime drinking ahead of it. —Jeb Dunnuck,

97 Points. Rich, juicy and lush with a ripe dark red and black-fruited core of fruit, the 2019 Syrah Armada Vineyard offers dusty purple flowers and savory elements with notions of smoked meat. Medium to full-bodied, the Syrah is firm, focused and refined while offering wonderful savory and umami essences as the generous wine gains in complexity. Still firm and with a taut mineral tension, the wine subsides with a spicy and lingering finish that will benefit from a couple more years of bottle aging to release its tight grip. Be patient and give it time. —Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. The 2019 Armada Vineyard Syrah is sensational in this vintage. Already expressive, this opens to seductive aromas, with ripe dark cherries and blackberries woven together with savory herbs, bacon fat, charcoal, pepper, salted meat and hints of floral undertones… What really brings this wine to the next level is the impeccable balance and concentration along with the beautiful combination of saline minerality and underlying acidity that provides a wonderful sense of freshness... Simply put, [this] is a stunning wine that will deliver drinking pleasure for many years to come. —Jeremy Young, International Wine Report

97 Points. A vibrant wine that shows great verve and concentration from this slightly cooler vintage. Right away the nose is very alluring with soy sauce, forest floor, white truffle and Mandarin orange rind with red cherry candy... With loads of mouth-watering acidity, this is exceedingly difficult to put down. Concentrated red and dark fruits parade with stony minerals, and suggestions of white pepper dusted bacon on the palate. Complex and delicious, this is one of the great wines made in 2019. Drink 2022-2032. —Owen Bargreen,

95 Points. A lovely nose of plum, gravel and sweet tobacco. Wonderfully balanced and supple on the palate. Medium-to full-bodied with gentle tannins. Cool profile. Rather graceful expressions of red fruit and cocoa. So charming. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold.—James Suckling,

95 Points. The 2019 Syrah Armada Vineyard is dark and woodsy in the glass, with brambly wild berries and smoky herbal tones giving way to ash, olive brine and seared meats. This is a powerhouse, with dense textures ushering in a wave of dark mineral-inflected fruits and savory spice, yet balance is maintained by a core of saline-infused acidity. There is an abundance of energy here, yet also grippy tannins, creating a youthfully chewy sensation as the Armada finishes structured yet surprisingly fresh. Cellaring will be required, yet also appreciated, once the 2019 awakens from its youthful slumber. —Eric Guido, Vinous


97 Points. The 2018 Syrah Armada Vineyard is a stunning showing from this warm vintage. The nose comes off very earthy, presenting peat moss and forest floor alongside a core of hoisin sauce and huckleberry. The palate shows mouth-coating tannins, bright acidity and a brilliant collection of wild blackberry, black currants, smoked meats, white pepper and gobs of minerality. The combination of verve, earthy tones and black fruits is brilliant. —Owen Bargreen, Vinous

97 Points. A beautiful as well as a classic expression of this cuvée, the 2018 Syrah Armada Vineyard reveals a medium ruby/plum color that's almost translucent. This is followed by a big, exotic, Rocks-driven nose of blackcurrants, sweet mulch, violets, bacon fat, charcoal, and exotic spices (among other things). Incredibly complex aromatically, with plenty of savory herb, graphite, and earthy notes, it nevertheless has a wonderful core of sweet fruit. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, with ripe tannins, a layered, elegant mouthfeel, and terrific balance, it opens up nicely with air and will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age. It's capable of evolving for two decades. —Jeb Dunnuck,

96+ Points. Beginning with a fantastic nose of cured venison, black pepper, roasted herbs and wilted lavender, the 2018 Syrah Armada Vineyard offers smoked jerky and cold fireplace elements. Medium to full-bodied, the wine displays impeccable balance with a velvety mid-palate and succulent tannins that need an additional year in bottle to come around. The wine concludes with a long, lingering finish with persistent flavors of sweet tobacco, roasted blackberries and cigar box… Give it a try; it's delicious as always. —Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. An intense, spicy nose of black and white pepper, fresh truffles, dried rosemary, black olives, black plums and spiced cherries. It’s full-bodied with silky, velvety tannins. Concentrated, deep and broad layers of herbs and earth. Delicious finish. Drink or hold. —James Suckling,

94 Points. Handsomely built and expressive, with robust raspberry, crushed rock, black olive and garrigue accents that gather richness and texture toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2030. —Tim Fish, Wine Spectator


97+ Points. …Deep plum/purple-colored with an incredible bouquet of smoked plum, blackcurrants, tobacco, peppered meat, and violets, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness and depth, building structure and tannins, moderate acidity, and a great finish. It’s another wine from Baron that packs incredible richness and depth yet still just glides across the palate with no sensation of weight or heaviness… —Jeb Dunnuck,

97 Points. The 2017 Syrah Armada Vineyard bursts out of the glass with complex and expressive aromas of blackberry, black tea, savory and umami tones of crushed black pepper, grilled meat and dried lilac and lavender. Medium to full-bodied, the wine is elegant and seamless on the palate, unfolding beautifully with precision and intention, offering up instant gratification in youth. The wine unfolds its wings across the mid-palate and takes flight, leading to the elongated and continually evolving finish, which grows in complexity and amplitude in the mouth. —Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. A soft, savory syrah with dried-strawberry, light chocolate-powder and walnut character. Medium to full body, round and soft tannins and a delicious finish. Rich, but not overwhelming. —James Suckling,

94 Points. Alluring for its layered texture and distinctive black olive, stony mineral and white pepper aromas that lead to tightly focused raspberry and blueberry flavors. Drink now through 2030. —Tim Fish, Wine Spectator


98+ Points. A wine that’s held back three months in barrel and then held a year in bottle (as is the GOK), the 2016 Syrah Armada Vineyard saw 70-80% stems and 15% new oak (both demi-muids and foudre). Slightly deeper ruby in color, it has a mix of both red and blue fruits, salt, violets, damp earth, and smoked earth. Deep, tight, backward, but just loaded with potential, it needs 3-5 years of bottle age and will be very long lived. —Jeb Dunnuck,

98 Points. From the moment you stick your nose in the glass, you are immediately struck with something special...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. —Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. This has a very attractive fragrance to the dark cherries and blackberries with such pure fruit expression. There’s also a more tightly composed feel to the tannins on the palate, which Christophe Baron attributes to closer planting in this plot. The heart of the wine is as pure as it is strong. This is impressive. —James Suckling,

96 Points. Aromas 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. —Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast

95 Points. … Intensely flavored and energetic, displaying a penetrating spicy quality to its flavors of red cherry, raspberry and wild herbs. For all its verve, this ripe but classically dry Syrah is also wonderfully silky. Large-scaled but still tightly wound, finishing with fine-grained tannins, terrific rising floral length and late notes of wet soil and bacon… —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous


97 Points. The 2015 Syrah Armada Vineyard is superb, wafting from the glass with a complex and savory bouquet of dark chocolate, peat, candied violets, plums and marinading meat. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and layered, with a deep core of sapid fruit framed by powdery, fine-grained tannins and concluding with a saline finish... —William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. The depth and complexity on offer is instantly impressive with smoky bacon and charcuterie notes across gun flint, peppers and an array of mostly red-tinged fruits. The palate has impressively smooth tannins, carrying deeper blue-plum and cherry flavors in a smooth, fine and supple mode. Impressive. Drink or hold. —James Suckling,


99+ Points. From the highest density vineyard planted under the Cayuse label, the 489-case 2014 Syrah Armada Vineyard is about as umami and earthy as it gets. Smoke, fireplace, mushroom, black cherry, currants and olive notes all emerge from this rich, backward, tight and structured Syrah that has incredible purity of fruit, a saline/bloody, meaty character that develops with time in the glass, and tons of tannic bite on the finish. Forget this incredible wine for 4-5 years and enjoy over the following two decades. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. Complex and mouthwateringly savory aromas of grilled meat, black tea, bacon fat and cocoa nib mingle with fruit tones of red plum and cassis in an enticing mélange on the opening of the 2014 Syrah Armada Vineyard. It is a full-bodied, layered and satiny red with an expansive, textural attack that gives way to a deep, intense and masterfully controlled mid-palate and finish. Despite being the product of a warm vintage, the 2014 is beautifully elegant and nuanced. —William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

94+ Points. Bright ruby-red. Explosive aromas of black raspberry, cranberry and clove are lifted by notes of violet and licorice and complemented by smoky rocky minerality. Tight, intense and gripping, conveying lovely inner-mouth definition and a distinctly primary character to its dark fruit flavors. Beautifully integrated acidity here; Baron notes that the inner-mouth tension of this wine may be due to more shading between the rows owing to the dense planting. Lovely juicy, imploded wine with firm but utterly fine-grained tannins and a long, rising finish featuring chewy notes of pomegranate, smoke and salt. A beauty. —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous


98 Points. Offering up notes of cracked black pepper, black truffles, smoked duck, plums, blackberry and violet, this early stage it appears to be longer and more intense. At 13.4%, it's also slightly lower in alcohol. It's full-bodied, sapid and layered, displaying excellent cut and energy, and I'd expect it to drink well for the next two decades. —William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

95+ Points. Bright ruby-red. Blueberry, blackberry, huckleberry and a hint of peat moss on the nose, lifted by high notes of licorice and pepper. Extremely youthful and tightly wound but already delivers outstanding fruit intensity and compelling sweetness leavened by strong salinity. More horizontal than vertical in the mouth, finishing wonderfully broad, dense and long, with a whiplash of savory raspberry and spices and a sexy hint of incipient truffle. Like the Pacienca vineyard, which supplies the fruit for Christophe Baron's No Girls wines, these vines are planted to a dense 6-by-4-foot spacing. —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

95 Points. From a vineyard that has the highest clay content of all the estate vineyards, the 2013 Syrah Armada Vineyard is a classically built Syrah that has lots of northern Rhone-like meaty, gamey notes as well as ample dark fruits, beef blood and savory herb-like aromas and flavors. Possessing a rich, multidimensional, layered mouthfeel, fine tannin and notable acidity, give bottles 3-4 years in the cellar and enjoy through 2033. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

93 Points. Lithe and delicately layered, with expressive bacon fat, blueberry and cracked pepper flavors that glide into a rich finish of refined, stony tannins. Drink now through 2023. 512 cases made. —Tim Fish, Wine Spectator


96 Points. Another longer-term prospect is the 2012 Syrah Armada Vineyard. One of the more burly, structured releases from this estate, it's always poured after the Bionic Frog and is the last Syrah we taste in a vintage. The 2012 gives up lots of iodine, raw meats and floral notes that are balanced by a core of distinct black raspberry fruit, which in most vintages veers more toward the darker, more plummy side of the spectrum. Full-bodied, tight and yet nicely concentrated, with good tannin, it should be at its best from 2018-2028. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. Right away the core of dark fruits connect momentum with dried Provencale herbs, wet stone and salted meats with Umami tones on this complex bouquet... Layers of bright red fruits mingle with citrus rind, salted summer sausage, and Kalmata olive tones on the palate. Exceedingly gratifying with its weight, yet not heavy, this Syrah will show well for at least another eight years. —Owen Bargreen,

95 Points. This wine displays …. aromas of plum leading to crushed rock, cracked pepper, olive, herbs and smoked meat. The texture is captivating, both elegant in its styling yet rich, commanding attention with floral notes on the finish. —Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast

94+ Points. (13.6% alcohol): Bright red color. Highly aromatic nose melds red fruits, blueberry, violet, smoke, lavender and caramel, accented by white pepper. Wonderfully sweet and smooth but with a strong mineral underpinning to its flavors of berries, spice box and peat moss. A serious tannic spine currently cuts off the finish, but this youthfully tight wine has terrific aging potential. Lay this one down. —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

94 Points. The 2012 Syrah Armada Vineyard offers up aromas of minty cassis, blackberry and plums that mingle with nuances of orange rind, sweet soil and cocoa powder, complemented by hints of black pepper as it sits in the glass. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and youthfully chewy but structurally quite open-knit, softening and filling out with air. Harvested October 4th, the 2012 is one of the burlier, more fruit-forward renditions of the Armada Vineyard Syrah in recent years. —William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

93 Points. Polished, round and open-textured, featuring blackberry and cherry flavors layered with savory overtones of black tea and tar. Picks up a black olive note as the finish lingers easily against refined tannins. Drink now through 2022. 498 cases made. —Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator


98 Points. ...Spectacular, and one of the highlights of this tasting, bursting from the glass with aromas of dark chocolate, smoked duck, blackberries, licorice, cassis, burning embers, tapenade and cracked black pepper. On the palate, it's full-bodied, layered and mouthwateringly savory, with cool fruit tones, a lovely underlying line of acidity and plenty of youthful energy, concluding with a refined but gently tannic finish... this compelling wine that screams Syrah and Walla Walla—but also more than nods to the Northern Rhône. —William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. The 2011 Syrah Armada is probably my favorite of the 2011’s. Deep, rich and layered, with phenomenal black plum, damp earth, pepper, mushroom, charcuterie and spice-driven aromas and flavors, this beauty tastes like the essence of this unique terroir. Full-bodied, rich and layered, it too should flesh out beautifully with short-term cellaring and have upwards of two decades of longevity. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. Soft and ripe, layering plum and mulberry fruit with tarry, rocky overtones. A hint of roasted meat develops as the finish lingers, with polished tannins. Offers an open, almost weightless feel. Drink now through 2025. 532 cases made. —Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

93 Points. (13.5% alcohol): Good full red. Wild, musky, expressive aromas of raspberry, game, woodsmoke, pepper, bacon fat, squid ink and black olive tapenade. Plush and salty on the palate, with raspberry and smoked meat flavors accented by subtle minerality. Finishes with plush tannins and lingering notes of smoke, game and spices. For all its fleshiness, there’s something a bit ungiving about this Syrah: is there more to come? (I should note that an earlier bottle was much more backward and gripping, showing little in the way of easy sweetness to its reticent flavors of singed raspberry, peat and briney olive juice. I rated this one 92+? and thought it needed a good six or seven years in the cellar.) — Stephen Tanzer, Vinous


97+ Points. The 2010 Syrah Armada Vineyard saw 22 months in puncheons and a second-fill foudre. It offers gorgeous purity in its black raspberry and cassis fruit, crushed rock and spice-laced aromatics, yet is relatively closed and backward at the moment, with an almost granite-like tightness and focus on the palate. It could flirt with perfection at maturity, but it needs 3-4 years of cellaring at the moment. — Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. The most round, smooth and full in terms of mouthfeel of all the Cayuse Syrahs, this is excellent in every way. Dark and meaty, it’s tightly wound and dense with black and roasted fruits, smoke, carpaccio and cacao. The Armada Syrah offers outstanding length, depth and complexity. — Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

97 Points. The 2010 Syrah Armada Vineyard is beginning to drink very well indeed, with the site's black truffle signature mingling prominently with its bouquet of ripe blackberries, plums, cracked black pepper and tapenade. On the palate, the wine is rich, full-bodied and textural, layered and powerful without being heavy, framed by an ample endowment of powdery tannins. — William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

95+ Points. (vinified with 60% stems): Good deep red. A deep cherry aroma is lifted by rose petal and minerals. Tight, fresh and primary, with a strong spice quality to the flavors of redcurrant, framboise and minerals. A hint of maple syrup adds another dimension without compromising the wine's juicy character. Saturates every square millimeter of the palate and echoes on the long, firmly tannic, virtually weightless finish. I love the influence of ripe stems here. Brilliant Washington syrah. — Stephen Tanzer, Vinous


98 Points. From his high-density 2001 planting, Baron’s 2009 Syrah Armada Vineyard leads with a high-toned, penetrating nose that one can scarcely avoid calling Cote Rotie-like: bacon fat, fresh cherry, kirsch, framboise, and violet. But there are also black tea, caramel, and a penetrating note of sealing wax that’s reminiscent of mature Bordeaux. Around one quarter of the 600-liter barrels in which this was raised (following fermentation in a mixture of cement and wood) were new. Dense, fine-grained but more evident tannins than in most of the present collection appear on a palate whose savory salinity and saliva-inducement, however, are utterly Cayuesque. The interplay of flavors here is kaleidoscopic and at the same time almost eye-squintingly bright. What’s more, as the wine opens to the air, a real layering and interplay emerges of diverse carnal elements alone: smoked meat, game, bloody roasted red meat, marrow and bone meal. This Syrah’s phenomenal sense of energy as well as of sheer, sappy, expansive presence, make for a finish whose vibratory intensity shakes-up my entire mouth. A truly awesome effort, it will surely be worth following for at least 15 years, though I’ve a hunch – without knowing how Baron’s earliest wines (which were surely different in important respects anyway) have matured – that it will reward for significantly longer. (And if you wonder what Baron can do for an encore to such a performance, just sit tight for a year or two!) I’m relieved I didn’t consider it necessary to “score” this wine any higher, otherwise I’d have left no room to express symbolically that the best is yet to come. –David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

97+ Points. A much more voluptuous, concentrated and obviously great Syrah, the 2009 Syrah Armada Vineyard yields lots of plum sauce, spice, licorice and crushed rock aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, layered, pedal-to-the-metal style. This is a great wine that will have 20-25 years of longevity. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. Dense and concentrated, this has thick, almost jammy blue and purple fruits, with a peppery highlight and an undercurrent of sweet grain. The palate is tight, featuring layers of cassis, ink, anise, coffee and iodine, with an earthy salinity that runs through the finish. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

95 Points. Rich and powerful, the 2009 Syrah Armada Vineyard offers up a boisterous bouquet of cassis, black truffle, plums and berry liqueur, complemented by savory notions of dark chocolate, loamy soil and orange. On the palate, it's full-bodied, ripe and ample, with considerable mid-palate volume and an exuberant core of fruit that conceals its ripe tannins. It's complex and compelling, but the difference between this more overtly ripe and sun-kissed wine and the more recent 2014 and 2015 vintages from Christophe—even warmer years—subtly speaks volumes. –William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

93 Points. Polished, displaying a sense of restraint to the blackberry and dark plum flavors that float easily over the polished finish and linger enticingly alongside notes of black olive and smoke. Drink now through 2020. 494 cases made. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

92+ Points. The Good deep red with ruby highlights. Distinctly decadent aromas of superripe plum, dried berries, mocha and smoked meat. Extremely dense, lush and thick, offering sweet, wild flavors of black raspberry, mocha and brown spices. Finishes very long, with big, ripe tannins. This large-scaled, mouthfilling, saline syrah will need time in bottle to express itself. –Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar


98 Points. The 2008 Armada Vineyard Syrah takes the longest to come around according to Christophe Baron. It was aged in puncheon for 22 months. Smoked meat, game, Asian spices, lavender, and blueberry are just some of the scents composing the wine?s aromatic array. In the glass it opens to reveal a pure, rich, elegant but powerful wine with a 60-second finish. It, too, will drink nicely for 10-12 years... –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. Right out of the chute, the garrigue and wild herb flavors are amazing. This is Northern Rhône in a glass, but with New World power behind the fruit. Bright and pungent, a mix of herb and tart berry and rock. Still youthful, and already packed with nuance and flavor. There has never been a Cayuse vintage that needed to be cellared more than these 2008s; this is a 20-year wine. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

96 Points. "The vintage died and another one was born," was Baron's rhetorical flourish to describe the effect of 2008's half an inch of rainfall at harvest. Thanks to the rain, sugar levels fell and picking was delayed, giving the vines the time they needed to ripen their phenolics. The ensuing 2008 Syrah Armada Vineyard is a very singular wine, offering up a rich and sumptuously degraded bouquet of charred meats, espresso roast and cassis, notes of black truffle emerging with air, though never with the precocity of the 2007 that followed it. Full-bodied, layered and mouthwateringly saline on the palate, it's balanced by bright acids that lend it precision and tension despite its concentration and substance. –William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. Full red-ruby. Explosive aromas of black cherry, minerals, flowers, brown spices and pepper. Wonderfully dense and penetrating, with compelling sweetness to its dark berry and spice flavors. Finishes with silky tannins and outstanding length. Like a topnotch Old World wine in the way it spreads out horizontally to saturate the palate without leaving any undue impression of weight. –Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

95 Points. More fresh and elegant than the 2009, yet also without the back-end depth, the 2008 Syrah Armada Vineyard has pretty notes of blackberries, black raspberries, crushed flowers, savory herbs and distinct minerality on the nose. Full-bodied, pure, fresh and long, it’s already approachable, but will evolve gracefully on its purity, balance and freshness. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate


99 Points. The 2007 Syrah Armada Vineyard is simultaneously one of the most youthful wines in this tasting and also the most complete, unfurling in the glass with a savory bouquet of black truffle, bitter chocolate, cassis and other dark fruits. On the palate, the wine is both more expansive and more incisive than the 2008; it’s lavish, textural attack segueing into a deep, stony and layered mid-palate. The finish is sapid, even saline and very long. Aged in demi-muids, one of which is new, the 2007 finished up with 14.2% alcohol. –William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

98+ Points. Checking in at the same alcohol level of 14.2% as the 2008, the 2007 Syrah Armada Vineyard is a noticeably bigger, richer, more full-bodied wine that exhibits thrilling white pepper, underbrush, cedary spice and sweet dark fruits on both the nose and palate. Big, full-bodied, decadent and massive, yet still balanced and even elegant, it has surprising tannic grip through the finish and certainly doesn’t lack for length. It’s beautiful now for sure, but will be even better in another 2-3 years. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

98 Points. The 2007 Syrah Armada Vineyard (100%) was aged in Rostaing puncheons, one of them new, for 30 months. Aromatically, it is the most brooding and Cote-Rotie-like of these Syrahs with notes of smoke, meat, game, garrigue, lavender, and blueberry. The most tightly wound of the Syrahs, it is the one that will most profit from several years of cellaring. It should offer prime drinking from 2014 to 2027. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate


99 Points. Another 2006 that flirts with perfection, the 2006 Syrah Armada Vineyard doesn’t put a foot wrong and shows incredible notes of dried herbs, beef blood, marine-like saltiness, game and loads of sweet fruit. A wine that starts out reserved and elegant, yet continues to build in depth and richness with time in the glass, it’s full-bodied, layered, seamless and concentrated, with a blockbuster finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. It’s ready to go now with a quick decant, but has another decade or more of life in the cellar. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

98 Points. The 2006 Syrah Armada Vineyard was aged in barrel for 30 months in 20% new Rostaing barrels. Aromatically, it is the most brooding of these Syrahs with notes of smoke, meat, game, garrigue, and blueberry. The most tightly wound of the Syrahs, it is the one that will most profit from several years of cellaring. It should offer prime drinking from 2012 to 2021. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. Silky, supple and complex from the first sniff to the last echo on the long, expressive finish, this drips with character, offering black olive-accented blackberry, plum and cherry fruit mingling with hints of unsweetened chocolate, bacon-stewed greens and haunting spices. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

96 Points. In its youth, says Christophe Baron, the 2006 Syrah Armada Vineyard was "in your face" with chewy structuring tannins, but time has been kind to it; while it's still a powerful, boisterous wine, it's drinking very well today. Wafting from the glass with rich aromas of black truffle, ripe cassis and cracked pepper, this is a very full-bodied, ample Syrah that's still richly tannic, with structure to burn. While it's more super-ripe and fruit-forward than the Cayuse wines of today, its fruit is complemented by plenty of savory nuance. The finish is long and sapid. –William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. Baron’s 2006 Syrah Armada Vineyard displays bay, mint, and black tea accents to smoked meat, game, and concentrated, confitured dark berries. For all of its sheer confitured – nearly confectionary – sweetness, this preserves a remarkable (if for this address fairly typical!) sense of energy not to mention mouthwatering carnal depth in a superbly prolonged finish to which suggestions of peat, fruit pit, and stone add further complexity. Look for at least a half dozen years more of awesome performance. –David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate


100 Points. The 2005 Syrah Armada Vineyard is the wine of the vintage. Incredible on all accounts, with jaw-dropping purity and complexity in its chocolate covered fruits, truffle, roasted herb, smoke and beef-blood-driven bouquet, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, stacked and concentrated mid-palate and still present, yet sweet tannin. One of those rare wines that can marry incredible decadence with incredible purity and elegance, drink it anytime over the coming 15+ years. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. Baron's 2005 Syrah Armada Vineyard is in its prime, bursting from the glass with a deep and expressive bouquet of dark chocolate, black truffles, burning embers and dark, plummy fruit. On the palate, it's powerful, super concentrated and multidimensional, with velvety structuring tannins and an ample core of fruit. It's a rich, imposing Syrah that's beautifully complete. The wines Baron is making today are even better, but what an impressive achievement this 2005 represents! –William Kelley, The Wine Advocate


98 Points. Just a slight step back from the 2005 and the 2003, the 2004 Syrah Armada Vineyard is still overflowing with character and offers blockbuster levels of flavor and intensity. Possessing a steak tartare, olive (and caper), cured meat, spice and sweet black-fruit-filled bouquet, it’s exuberant and sexy on the palate, with bright acidity (the only hint of the cooler vintage), fine tannin and a great finish. It’s drinking brilliantly today. –William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

98 Points. The 2004 Syrah Armada Vineyard spent 30 months in puncheon. Yields were under 1 ton per acre. Floral notes, mineral, scorched earth, meat and blueberry make for an enticing mix. An amalgam of black fruits, tar, and licorice appear on the palate. It seems improbable that a wine of this scale could be thought “racy” but it is, quite an achievement. Kudos to Christophe Baron for another amazing set of wines! –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

98 Points. The 2004 Syrah Armada Vineyard is still overflowing with character and offers blockbuster levels of flavor and intensity. Possessing a steak tartare, olive (and caper), cured meat, spice and sweet black-fruit-filled bouquet, it’s exuberant and sexy on the palate, with bright acidity (the only hint of the cooler vintage), fine tannin and a great finish. It’s drinking brilliantly today. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. Medium-deep red. High-toned aromas of raspberry and spice; conveys an impression of noble rusticity, like a great northern Rhone wine. Thick yet vibrant, with great retention of raspberry fruit complemented by notes of liquid rock and smoked meat. The extremely long finish features a strong element of brown spices. This has less lift than the 2005s, but then it spent much longer in barrel. Incidentally, Baron admitted that the VA here is considerably higher than the levels shown by his '05 syrahs, which should prove to be his suavest and best collection of wines to date. –Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

92 Points. Ripe, round and generous with its cherry, red berry and dusky spice flavors. Hints at tomato and savory notes as the finish persists, although the fruit just doesn't quit. Drink now through 2015. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator


99 Points. The first vintage from the vineyard and coming from third-leaf fruit, the 2003 Syrah Armada Vineyard is up with the crème de la crème of Syrah and turns the whole vine-age argument on its head. Full-bodied, decadent, massive and yet always seamless, layered and elegant, it has awesome flavor authority in its blackcurrants, plums, green olive and spice-laced aromas and flavors. This is a tour de force in Syrah and it’s one of those wines that I wish I could hand every reader a glass of. It’s an incredible wine. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. A truly stunning wine of amazing complexity. It has layers of depth rarely found in any Washington wines, beginning with dense black fruits, black licorice, smoke, pepper and charcoal. The trademark Cayuse herbal/green tea elements are there also, more as hints than as layers. The aging in big neutral barriques has buffed it out; as it breathes in the glass the wine opens beautifully, gaining flesh and density. A genuine tour de force, deeply aromatic and fascinating. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

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