“Distinctly darker ... the way the Cote Brune is darker than the Cote Blonde in Cote-Rotie..”
—Stephen Tanzer,
The International Wine Cellar

En Cerise Vineyard Syrah

Produced: 2000 - present

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

2015

(94-96)+ Points. Reminiscent of a burly Red Burgundy (Gevrey-Chambertin?), the 2015 Syrah En Cerise is one of the more focused, tight and backward in the lineup. It offers notes of black cherries, leather, olives and crushed rocks, with an uncommon elegance and seamlessness on the palate. It shows more classic Syrah bloodiness with time in the glass, has ultra-fine tannin and terrific length on the finish. Plan on giving bottles 2-3 years of cellaring, and it should see its 20th birthday in fine form. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2014

95 Points. Just slightly more ruby colored than the Cailloux Vineyard, the 2014 Syrah en Cerise offers more elegance and finesse as well as lots of black cherry, plums, Asian spice and dried lavender aromatics. Full-bodied, elegant and very fine, it's a pretty, perfumed and seamless beauty. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. Impeccably built and expressive, with vivid raspberry, smoky meat and crushed rock aromas and impressive, harmonious flavors of cherry, pepper and orange zest that linger toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2023. 406 cases made. —Tim Fish, Wine Spectator

2013

95+ Points. Brought up in a scant 15% new puncheons, the 2013 Syrah en Cerise is a beautifully layered, elegant, yet focused and concentrated Syrah that really needs 2-3 years of bottle age to strut its stuff. Black cherries, raw steak, violets and pepper all emerge from this full-bodied, balanced, classic Syrah from one the top winemakers in the US. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. Broad and supple, this open-textured version is powerful and expressive without weight. Plum, cherry, tobacco and orange peel flavors float over beautifully modulated tannins into the long, seamless finish. Drink now through 2023. 376 cases made. —Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2012

97 Points. is a fabulously complex, seamless and elegant Syrah that exhibits notes of dried cherries, currants, dried herbs, violets and cured meats. These all flow to a full-bodied, nicely concentrated Syrah that shows the more structured, savory side to the vintage...I think it will reward 3-4 years of cellaring, and keep for two decades. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. Supple, ripe and expressive, layering currant, plum and cherry flavors on a medium-weight frame. A streak of rocky minerality adds depth as this sails into a long, harmonious, complex finish. Drink now through 2025. 361 cases made. —Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

94+ Points. Tight, distinctly dark aromas of blue fruits, black cherry, pepper, leather and game. Not quite as fleshy or sweet in the early going as the Cailloux but boasts an outstanding balance between its dark raspberry fruit and crushed-stone minerality. Here, too, the firm tannins are wonderfully noble and the finish extremely long, but this wine will need longer in the cellar to express itself. —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

2011

96 Points. Made from 100% Syrah, the 2011 Syrah En Cerise is similarly styled, with perfumed black cherry, plum, violets, spring flowers and salty minerality giving way to a seamless, thrillingly pure Syrah that has full-bodied richness, no hard edges and fine tannin. It too will be better in another couple of years and evolve for 15 years or more. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. Bright medium ruby-red. Dark raspberry, smoke, brown spices and crushed herbs on the nose; distinctly darker than the Cailloux, the way the Cote Brune is darker than the Cote Blonde in Cote-Rotie. Boasts outstanding thickness and spiciness on the palate; wonderfully sweet, lush and saline, with its pepper and spice elements gaining strength in the glass. Ultimately less expressive in the early going than the Cailloux but finishes with outstanding peppery persistence. –Stephen Tanzer, The International Wine Cellar

94 Points. Packs a wallop of black cherry and blueberry flavors into a structure of unexpected transparency, hinting at black olive and pepper notes as the finish lingers easily. Shows grace and power. Best from 2016 through 2021. 369 cases made. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2010

96 Points. Sleek, sensuous and focused, offering smoky green olive and black olive accents to the blackberry and tar flavors. The crunchy tannins provide grip on the open-weave finish. Drink now through 2020. 305 cases made. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

95 Points....the thrilling 2010 Syrah En Cerise offers up a perfumed, wild array of ripe, meaty black cherries, soy, black olive, smoked herbs and river rock as well as a full-bodied, voluptuous and awesomely textured palate that carries its core of deep, concentrated fruit beautifully. Showing the classic Cayuse funk, as well as a complex, layered profile, it will benefit from short-term cellaring and evolve for 15 years or more. Drink 2015-2025. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2009

96 Points. Fermented in concrete, then aged in demi-muids, only around 20% of which were new, Baron’s 2009 Syrah En Cerise Vineyard incorporates a mouthwateringly savory alliance of smoke meat and soy sauce to its luxuriantly rich, silken-textured matrix of confitured cassis and cherry, further laced with salted caramel, while striking perfume of mint, gentian, cardamom, and rose wood hovers above the glass and inner-mouth. The finish here lingers with an uncanny combination of seductive caress, vibrancy, richness, and buoyancy, its many flavor strands – floral, fruited, animal, spice and mineral – dynamically intertwining. I would surely give at least some bottles of it 12-15 years’ opportunity to show their true potential. Cautious as I attempt to be in drawing such parallels, if Baron’s latest Cailloux bottling resembles Verset Cornas, then this En Cerise puts one in mind of another of his Rhone heroes and (albeit self-effacing) near-legends, Marius Gentaz of Cote Rotie, and in either instance Baron’s result measures up to that of these old masters. –David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

94(+?) Points....the nose offers superb lift for this warm vintage: black cherry, blackberry, cocoa powder and pink peppercorn, plus a suggestion of marshmallow. Lush and pliant but with a firm spine of acidity and underlying minerality energizing the sweet dark fruit and black olive flavors. A distinctly Rhone-like animal quality adds interest. At once rich and dry, with a building, tactile, palate-staining finish featuring a saline quality and strong black cherry flavor... –Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

94 Points. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry and a streak of cola ignite the palate, with a layer of pure mineral underneath. At first a bit delicate, this never pauses, introducing umami and cinnamon highlights on the lingering finish... –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

2008

99 Points. The 2008 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah offers up a remarkably complex, sexy perfume that leaps from the glass. Exotic spices, a velvety texture, and a succulent richness on the palate are sublime. It, too, can be enjoyed for a decade or more. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

98 Points. A subtle, complex, utterly distinctive mix of flavors, with opening streaks of butter cookie, then mushroom broth, tightly wound berry fruit, earthy coffee grounds and even darker streaks of espresso and smoke and licorice. It is deeply layered with flavors that just keep piling on. Amazing wine. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

96 Points. Rich and round, yet amazingly transparent as the cherry, mineral, tar and sassafras flavors expand over the long, expressive palate. This shows richness and depth balanced with vibrant acidity, finishing with intensity. Best from 2012 through 2020. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

93 Points. Bright ruby-red. Black raspberry, bacon fat and an exotic apricot note on the nose, complicated by a saline nuance; very Old World. Then thick, saline and sweet; less high-pitched than the Cailloux syrah but really stains the mouth with dark fruits, wild herbs and smoke. Still a bit youthfully edgy on the back end, finishing with terrific lift and a note of black olive. –Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

2007

98 Points. The 2007 Syrah En Cerise Vineyard (100%) is a glass-coating opaque purple color. On the nose espresso, smoked meat, olives, and garrigue-like aromas offer much to contemplate. Intense, balanced, and subtly elegant, it boasts a finish that just won’t quit. It delivers impressive immediate gratification, but those who can wait for 5-7 years will be well rewarded. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. Focused like a laser, this beams oodles of fresh currant, plum and black olive flavors through a veil of refined tannins. This is fleshy, sneaking in wafts of pepper, licorice and tar on the finish. Drink now through 2020. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2006

97 Points. The 2006 Syrah En Cerise Vineyard is a glass-coating opaque purple color. On the nose liquid asphalt, bacon fat, olives, and garrigue-like aromas offer much to contemplate. Intense, balanced, and totally succulent, it boasts a finish that just won’t quit. It delivers impressive immediate gratification but those who can wait for 5-7 years will be well rewarded. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. Polished, round and harmonious, deftly playing its effusive ripe cherry and currant fruit against wisps of mineral, black olive and tobacco as the finish expands and persists expressively. Best from 2010 through 2018. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2005

97 Points. The 2005 Syrah En Cerise features garrigue notes, mineral, meat, game, and blueberry. This brooding effort is dense, opulent, and powerful. Give it 5-7 years of cellaring and drink it through 2025. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. Refined, offering a gorgeous mouthful of raspberry, strawberry and tea leaf flavors that find a deft balance as they soar through the long, vivid finish. This is a Syrah that shows restraint without losing a whit of its fruit character, as the tannins submerge themselves in the finish. Best from 2010 through 2015. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2004

96 Points. The 2004 Syrah "En Cerise Vineyard’s multidimensional perfume of pain grille, plums, blueberry, spice box, and leather leaps from the glass. This is followed by a wine with remarkable depth and concentration, a muscular, broad-shouldered wine with huge fruit encapsulated in a velvet jewel-box of a personality. With a finish lasting well over a minute, this powerful yet elegant wine should drink well through 2045. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

93 Points. A bit tight on the nose, but the mineral-accented cherry and pomegranate flavors spread across the palate, hinting at espresso as the finish persists against superfine tannins. Drink now through 2014. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

92 Points. Here’s a strong whiff of what Cayuse’s Christophe Baron calls the "good funk," augmented with a blast of black pepper, meat and blood. There’s wild herb lurking in the background also, and as the Syrah opens up slowly in the glass it develops a powerful green tea scent. But what a glorious, pungent, earthy and sensuous mix of flavors, wild, organic and fascinating. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

2003

93 Points. The En Cerise is all Syrah; very dark, young and toasty. It already shows streaks of smoke, pepper, grilled meat, cassis and pomegranate. There’s baby fat—bacon, wood spice—but terroir behind it. Herbs, grainy fruit, nuances of grain and herb and wood and earth, all very clean. –Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

92 Points. Amazingly, eye-openingly, effusively peppery, a jolt to the senses that then subsides and lets the cherry, red plum and red berry flavors come waltzing through, establishing a beachhead on the palate that carries through the finish. Gorgeous stuff, finishing with a tang. Drink now through 2014. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

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