< Cayuse Vineyards – Impulsivo Tempranillo

“I think without a doubt one of the greatest expressions of the Tempranillo grape outside of Spain.”
—Jeb Dunnuck,
The Wine Advocate

 

“As I have said for several years now, my nominee for best domestic Tempranillo is Baron's Impulsivo.”
—Jay Miller,
The Wine Advocate

Impulsivo

Produced: 2002 - present

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

2015

(97-100) points. A wine that will flirt with perfection is the 2015 Impulsivo, and this cuvee is unquestionably one of the most consistent in the Cayuse lineup. The 2015 offers inky black fruits, charred meats and crushed rock characteristics as well as full-bodied richness, a huge mid-palate, big tannin and a crazy good finish. It will unquestionably compete with the best Tempranillo cuvees in the world. Don’t miss this beauty. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2014

98+ points. Road tar, shiitake mushroom, black cherry, crushed flowers and graphite all emerge from the 2014 Impulsivo, which is a full-bodied, ethereally textured, structured Tempranillo that has insane purity and length. While it started out downright earthy and umami, it gained more and more fruit as it sat in the glass, has a beautiful mid-palate and a finish that won’t quit. Nevertheless, this firm, tannic wine needs to be forgotten for at least 4-5 years. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2013

97+ Points. Made from 100% Tempranillo and with only 214 cases made, it has incredible notes of bloody meats, cold fireplace, black cherries, currants and cedar. This gives way to a full-bodied, concentrated, structured 2013 that will benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring and drink well for a decade or more past that. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2012

99 Points. Another wine that flirts with perfection is the 2012 Impulsivo. Showing the heights Tempranillo can hit in Washington State, this blockbuster offers tons of purple fruits, crushed rocks, exotic spice and spring flower characteristics to go with a full-bodied, fabulously concentrated, structured feel on the palate. What really sets this apart is the purity of fruit. In addition, this cuvee ages brilliantly, and doesn't start to really hit maturity until around age 8-10. This beauty will have 20-25 of overall longevity and is one thrilling drink! —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

93+ Points. (aged in 50% new Taransaud puncheons and foudres): Deep medium ruby. Inky aromas of cassis, blackberry, violet, mint and licorice, with some suggestions of superripe grapes. Boasts terrific dark berry intensity and an impression of strong but harmonious acidity. Finishes quite tannic and bound-up, with a suggestion of youthful bitterness. This was a shock to the palate following the wonderfully rich set of Syrahs here but this powerfully structured Tempranillo is built for a long life in bottle. —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

2011

97+ Points. The 2011 Tempranillo Impulsivo is easily the top example of this variety coming out of the New World. Classic in style with its singed cedar board, spice, earth, dried flowers and plum and blackberry styled fruit, this puppy hits the palate with a structured, full-bodied profile that needs 3-4 years of cellaring to round into form. While I haven’t been able to taste many aged example of this cuvee (it was first made in 2003), I can’t imagine it not evolving gracefully for at least 10-15 years. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2010

97 Points. The 2010 Impulsivo showed similar to my review in 2013, with lots of cedar, spice-box, dried rose petal and sweet cassis and blackberry fruit. Full-bodied, ripe and concentrated, it never seems over the top, has building tannin and a fresh, focused feel that carries through the finish. It’s a brilliantly balanced 2010 that will have 20-25 years of overall longevity. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. A grape variety that normally struggles outside of its home in Spain, the 100% Tempranillo 2010 Tempranillo Impulsivo En Chamberlin Vineyard has no such issues and is an incredible effort that’s up there with the greatest example of this variety I’ve tasted from the US. Deeply colored and awesomely perfumed and complex on the nose, with classic black cherry, cedar, rare steak, spice box and smoked herbs, it carries brilliant levels of fruit and texture on the palate, with juicy acidity and building tannin that remains sweet and polished. Layered, textured and perfectly balanced, it benefits from a decant and will have 15+ years or more of ultimate longevity. Drink now-2025+. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. This vibrant, supple and expressive red is brimming with flavors of blackberry and licorice that are shaded with wafts of smoke and black olive. A stony note chimes in on the lingering finish. Drink now through 2020. 165 cases made. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2009

97+ Points. More ripe and decadent than the 2010, yet still showing the focused elegance that this cuvee always has, the 2009 Impulsivo has lots of plum, wood spice, beef broth and toasted bread notes in a full-bodied, layered and massively rich style. There’s lots of pleasure to be had here now, but it’s another wine that will see its 20th birthday in fine form. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. Dark and smoky, this wine is relatively tannic and emphasizes flavors of leaf, bark, root and herb. There’s plenty of depth and exceptional power to this wine, which seems unique among New World Tempranillos. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

93 Points. Baron’s 2009 Impulsivo...is scented with smoky cigar ash and tar, supplemented by beet root, and licorice, that collectively instantly give away its being Tempranillo...adds enormous appeal to a finish almost dour in its dense, smoky, metaphorically darkly-hued, palate-staining persistence. I suspect that this will reward more than a decade in bottle. –David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

91? Points. Good dark ruby-red. Very ripe, liqueur-like nose hints at mocha, underbrush and porcini. Lush, sweet and very ripe; a bit fresher and less monolithic in the mouth than the nose suggests, with dark cherry and dark berry flavors dominating... finish shows substantial dusty tannins and a saline unami quality... –Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

2008

100 Points. As for the 2008 Impulsivo En Chamberlin, it is a dense purple color with a remarkably complex bouquet of smoke, licorice, tar, violets, exotic spices, blackberry, and black raspberry. Dense, powerful, and mouth-filling, this layered, plush effort has a finish that keeps on going. It is a total turn-on that will continue to provide pleasure for another 12-15 years.

Over the past 6 years, because of my coverage of Spain for this journal, I have gotten to know Tempranillo very well. My principal observation is that it does not travel particularly well...There is one exception, Christophe Baron’s small parcel of estate-grown Tempranillo. The wine’s only competition, in my opinion, is Dominio Pingus, the great Tempranillo produced by Peter Sisseck in Ribera del Duero. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. With its elegant, seamless style, the 2008 Impulsivo offers lots of blood orange, cedar, cassis and white flower aromas and flavors. These all flow nicely into a full-bodied, ultra-fine, seamless and incredibly polished and pure 2008 that’s impeccably balanced, has fine tannin and a great finish. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2007

98 Points. As I have said for several years now, my nominee for best domestic Tempranillo is Baron’s Impulsivo. The 2007 Tempranillo Impulsivo En Chamberlin Vineyard is a dense, brooding effort with intense mineral notes, road tar, espresso, layered black fruits, and an exotic perfume in combination with a Lauren Bacall-like sensuality. Impeccably balanced and long, it should evolve for 8-10 years and offer pleasure through 2026. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. The 2007 Impulsivo has an elegant, seamless and layered profile, with lots of bloody meat, blackcurrants, wild herbs and licorice giving way to a full-bodied, ripe, yet perfectly balanced palate. There’s superb overall freshness here, and it has terrific mid-palate concentration, with ripe tannin. The buzz words here are balanced and elegance, yet as with most of Christophe’s wines, it doesn’t give any ground on texture or richness. It's drinking beautifully now, but has another decade of longevity. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2006

100 Points. A wine that just blew me away was the 2006 Impulsivo, and I think 2006 may prove to be the greatest vintage at this estate to date. Absolutely classic in every way, with dense, rich notes of crème de cassis, currants, dried blood, dried spices and raw meat, this flat-out awesome 2006 hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a thrilling mid-palate and building tannic structure that starts on the mid-palate and carries all the way through the finish. The texture here is just off the charts. When all is said and done, this will have 30+ years of overall longevity. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. My candidate for Best Domestic Tempranillo. Admittedly, it is a rather short list but consider that its real competition is Pingus or Contador. The 2006 Tempranillo Impulsivo En Chamberlin Vineyard is a dense, brooding effort with savory, sweet, layered fruit, an exotic perfume, and an elegant personality. Impeccably balanced and long, it should evolve for 8-10 years and offer pleasure through 2026. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

2005

98 Points. Showing the more savory side to the 2005 vintage, the 2005 Impulsivo has beautiful ripeness in its currants, potpourri, dried flowers, incense and savory herb-laved bouquet. These come together beautifully on the palate where the wine is full-bodied, elegant, silky and structured, with still notable tannin giving plenty of cut to the finish. Showing more licorice and crushed rock-like minerality on the finish, drink it anytime over the coming 15 years. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. The 2005 Impulsivo is 100% Tempranillo. Opaque purple, the wine has great aromatics with mineral, black cherry, and blackberry. Pure, rich, and focused, the wine is layered and opulent but manages to remain light on its feet. It would be interesting to try this wine beside a great Ribera del Duero such as Pingus. Cellar it for at least five years. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

2004

98 Points. The shockingly great 2004 Impulsivo "En Chamberlin Vineyard" is 100% Tempranillo from yields of a microscopic 0.8 tons/acre and was aged in French oak, 60% new. Opaque purple, it reveals an impressive bouquet of minerals, scorched earth, truffles, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. With its multi-dimensional personality already exhibiting complexity, the wine is layered and impressively concentrated, structured and impeccably balanced. Give it 6-8 years of further bottle age and drink it through 2040. In the past year, the only Tempranillos I have tasted at this level of quality are the 2004 Pingus and the 2004 Contador. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. Surprisingly, the 2004 Impulsivo, which comes from a cooler vintage, is almost over-the-top decadent and ripe, with tons of sweet, chocolate-covered fruit, licorice, herbs and spice soaring from the glass. Coming from a scant 0.8 tons per acre, it’s full-bodied, decadent, sweetly fruited and massive. Those favoring delicate and light-weight aromas and flavors need not apply. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

90 Points. Supple, lithe and generous with its earthy, meaty blackberry and dusky spice flavors, which linger on the polished finish. A bit hot, but the flavor profile is unique. Tempranillo. Drink now through 2010. –Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

2003

97 Points. Another ripe, blockbuster-styled vintage for this cuvee. Plum, licorice, roasted spice and cedar show it has some similarities to the ’04, yet I think shows more purity, focus and elegance. Still, this is no wimpy effort and it has tons of fruit and texture. I like it now, but given the mid-palate depth, it will evolve gracefully for sure. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

90 Points. Deep ruby-red. Musky aromas of smoked meat, earth, chocolate and minerals; showed more primary black raspberry with 24 hours in the recorked bottle. Dense, juicy and penetrating, with a saline quality and flavors of chocolate and coffee, all framed by sound acidity. Finishes with sweet tannins. This retained a meaty nuance, like a Northern Rhone wine, with aeration. –Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

2002

98 Points...is another one of wines that will make French growers who wax poetically about old vines scratch their heads. Inky ruby in color and still youthful, with tons of plum, truffle, licorice and dried earth aromas and flavors, this flat-out great 2002 is full-bodied, concentrated and layered, with plenty of focus and elegance in its texture and finish. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

 

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