Bottle of Armada Vineyard Syrah displayed on its side

“Attractively fresh and delineate… this is a very persuasive offering from Christophe Baron.”
—William Kelley,
The Wine Advocate

The Lovers

Produced: 2010 - present

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


97 Points. Based on 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Syrah, the deep ruby/purpl- hued 2018 The Lovers offers a rocking, Pauillac-like bouquet of blackcurrants, unsmoked tobacco, lead pencil, and earth. Medium to full-bodied and concentrated on the palate, it has a terrific core of sweet red, black, and blue fruits, ripe tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. It's easily my favorite vintage of this cuvée to date, and it has another two decades of prime drinking ahead of it! —Jeb Dunnuck,

95 Points. Blackberry, blackcurrant, whole peppercorn, tobacco leaf, cocoa and stone on the nose. It’s full-bodied with firm, finely knit and well-integrated tannins. Plush and polished with a rounded, supple feel. Textured and refined. 89% cabernet sauvignon and 11% syrah. So delicious now. Drink from 2022. —James Suckling,

94 Points. Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 89% of this wine, with Syrah 11%. This is a fleshy, full-bodied vintage of this wine, with aromas and flavors of peat, cassis, cocoa powder and plum. Like many wines from this producer and vintage, there's a light grip of tannin providing the scaffolding for the generous amounts of fruit. A hyperextended finish caps it off. It's a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, capturing the best of both varieties. —Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast

94 Points. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Syrah, the 2018 The Lovers sashays out of the glass with elegant and seductive notes of fresh, ripe blackberries, dusty plum, dark cherry and a delightful array of oak essences. Medium to full-bodied, the wine is open-knit with a juicy frame of fruit; it's accessible now and will continue to age gracefully for the next 10 to 12 years. Flavors of bitter dark chocolate, crème de cassis, dusty currant and baked earth express in the mouth with a food-friendly essence. The wine somersaults to an impressive finish with lingering notions of cinnamon, vanilla and dusty blackberries with a soft smoky essence... Bravo, it’s delicious! —Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate


95+ Points. Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Syrah … offers lots of darker currant and smoked blackberry fruits as well as ample licorice, graphite, and gravelly minerality… —Jeb Dunnuck,


96 Points. … Spectacular nose combines black cherry, dark raspberry, pomegranate and smoke aromas lifted by pepper and lavender nuances… The cherry and darker fruit flavors are complemented by flinty minerality, flowers and candy store spices. Seriously mouth-staining, precise and vibrant, and dense without being weighty, this blend has it all. The rising, spicy finish stains the palate, with perfectly judged tannins supporting the wine without intruding… —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

95+ Points. The 2016 The Lovers is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah, raised in 40-45% new French oak. Its ruby color is followed by a classic Cabernet nose of cassis, crushed rocks, scorched earth, and graphite. It’s medium-bodied, elegant, and focused on the palate, with fine tannins. It opens up nicely with time in the glass, has a complex, salty, layered character, and a blockbuster finish. —Jeb Dunnuck,

94 Points. Some gently lifted, crushed flowers and an amalgam of blackcurrants and blackberries. The palate has a long, rich and deep feel. Very plush yet structurally contained and well integrated tannins. Neat, dark-fruit finish with a lick of herbs to close. A blend of 85% cabernet sauvignon and 15% syrah. Try from 2022. —James Suckling,


95 Points. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah, the 2015 The Lovers is one of the most successful renditions of this cuvée that I can remember tasting. Notes of currant fruit, cocoa nib, plums, tobacco and subtle cedar mingle in a complex bouquet. It's a medium to full-bodied, sapid wine with a deep core of fruit complemented by plenty of savory nuance and framed by powdery, fine-grained tannins. Attractively fresh and delineated (which isn't always the most obvious characteristic of Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon), this is a very persuasive offering from Christophe Baron. —William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

(93-95) Points. The same 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah found in the 2014, the 2015 The Lovers is aged in roughly 40-50% new French oak 600-liter barrels. It offers classic notes of cassis, smoked herbs, tobacco and licorice, full-bodied richness, just a hint of chocolaty oak and a great finish. I love its tannin quality, and it's a silky, seamless beauty that’s going to drink nicely for 15-20 years. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate


95+ Points. The 176-case 2014 The Lovers checks in as 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah that was brought up all in 40% new barrels. The Cabernet shows beautifully here with its blackcurrants, graphite and dried herbs, with some meaty, smoky notes (no doubt from the Syrah) coming through on the background. A big, rich, impressively concentrated red, with building tannin and a great mid-palate, it's beautiful today but will be even better in 2-3 years and I suspect will have two decades of longevity. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate


92 Points. The same blend as the 2014, the 2013 The Lovers is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Syrah that was aged in mostly older puncheons. Showing the more elegant, fresh style of the vintage with its subtle black fruits, ground herbs, earth and lead pencil-like aromas and flavors, it has medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful elegance, fine tannin and a graceful, balanced style that will keep it evolving nicely over the coming decade or more. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate


96+ Points. One of the more voluptuous, thick and chewy releases, the 2012 The Lovers (86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Syrah) is locked and loaded with notions of black raspberries, cassis, smoked earth, tobacco and licorice. Massively built on the palate, with a full throttle, rich, tannic mouthfeel, give it 3-4 years and drink anytime over the following 15+ years. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

93+ Points. Knockout nose delivers an infusion of berries complicated by flinty minerality, charcuterie, orange zest and warm gravel. Wonderfully fleshy, silky and sweet, if not quite as expressive in the middle palate today as the Camaspelo or Flying Pig blends. But this wine is brilliantly refined and fresh. Finishes firmly tannic and distinctly tangy. Christophe Baron describes this wine as "our answer to Palmer's Alter Ego," but this is more concentrated and richer in extract. —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous


95 Points. A blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and a splash of Syrah (10%) that was first made in 2010, the 2011 The Lovers has some solid Cayuse funk, with copious peat moss, herbs, mineral and violets balanced nicely by black-cherry-styled fruit. Medium to full-bodied, layered and nicely textured, it offers plenty of up-front appeal yet should also evolve gracefully. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

93+ Points. Bright medium red. Wild red fruits, smoke, pepper, flint and oyster shell on the nose; showing its Syrah side today. Then thick and seamless on the palate, but with lovely animating energy to the flavors of raspberry, crème de cassis and spices. Finishes very long and vibrant, with noble fine-grained tannins. If this wine shows its Syrah on the nose, the palate conveys the energy of the cabernet. –Stephen Tanzer, The International Wine Cellar


95 Points. A new wine and Christophe’s take on a Cab/Syrah blend, the 2010 the Lovers is composed of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Syrah and comes from the Cayuse and En Cerise Vineyards. Really showing Syrah character, with loads of blackberry, smoked meat, spice, chocolate and mineral aromas and flavors, it flows onto the palate with a full-bodied, mouth-filling and supple texture that partially conceals the wines underlying tannic structure. Already approachable due to the fruit and texture, it nevertheless has an age-worthy feel and should see its 20th birthday in fine form. Drink now-2030. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate


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