“I think one the greatest Viogniers coming out of the US is Baron's Cailloux Vineyard.”
—Jeb Dunnuck,
The Wine Advocate

Wallah Wallah Special Series

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

2016 Wallah Wallah Special Syrah Series #10

(95-97+) Points. Only released in magnum, the 2016 Syrah Wallah Wallah Special #10 is always a mysterious blend of multiple vineyards. It has beautiful complexity in its ripe black cherry and cassis fruits, iodine, tobacco, ashtray, and earthy/peat moss-like aromas and flavors. This gives way to a full-bodied, concentrated Syrah that has bright acidity, loads of fruit, and a focused, juicy style that’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring. —Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com

2015 Wallah Wallah Syrah Special #8

(96-98) Points. Made from 100% Syrah, from a mix of vineyards, the 2015 Syrah Wallah Wallah Special #8 is a dead ringer for a traditionally made Côte Rôtie. Pepper, blackberries, bacon fat and assorted floral and violet notes all flow to a rich, full-bodied Syrah that has nothing out of place, with ripe, sweet tannin and a great finish. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2014 Wallah Wallah Syrah Special #6

97 Points. Christophe’s homage to one of his favorite northern Rhone producers, Jamet, the 2014 Syrah Walla Walla Special #6 comes from two of his estate vineyards (he wouldn't say which) and is released only in magnum. Giving up lots of blue fruits, salted meats, violets and underbrush, it has a decidedly sexy, full-bodied, textured profile that still shows restraint, purity and finesse. I never find the Special bottling to be the richest in the lineup, yet it has incredible complexity and purity; and given the magnum format, it should benefit from a decade of cellaring and have two to three decades of overall longevity. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2013 Wallah Wallah Syrah Special #5

96 Points. One of the most complete, layered and elegant 2013s from Cayuse is the 2013 Syrah Walla Walla Special #5, which is made from two separate parcels that remind Christophe of the northern Rhone’s Jamet brother’s Cote Rotie. He also keeps the price low as a thank you to his customers. Giving up classic cool climate notes of green olives, black cherries, scorched earth, ash and ripe herbs, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, no hard edges, incredibly fine tannin and a finish that just keeps going. I thoroughly enjoyed drinking it today, but it will be better with 4-5 years of cellaring and have two decades or more of overall longevity. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2012 Wallah Wallah Syrah Special #4

96+ Points. Made by Christophe as a tribute to Cote Rotie and coming from a blend of estate vineyards, the 2012 Syrah Wallah Wallah #4 Special spent 22 months in older puncheons and neutral smaller barrels before being bottled only in Magnum, of which there’s only 2,500 to go around. Hitting 13.6% natural alcohol, its deep ruby, semi-opaque color is followed by fabulous notes of rose petals, incense, violets, leather and sweet raspberry. These flow seamlessly to a full-bodied, supple and elegant Syrah that has no hard edges, integrated acidity and thrilling purity of fruit. Showing more and more tannin with time in the glass, it needs to be forgotten for 4-5 years and will have an easy two decades or more of longevity. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2012 Wallah Wallah Grenache Special #2

94 Points. The Cayuse 2009 Grenache Wallah Wallah #2 represents a 181-magnum lot from especially tightly-spaced rows in the Armada, including a few vines of Syrah and Tempranillo. (The name is a 19th century spelling of Walla Walla; while “#2” refers back to the first wine —a 2005 vintage Syrah also reviewed in this report —that Baron was inspired to bottle as a magnum-only “Wallah Wallah” reserve, and calls “#1.”) “We didn’t intend originally to bottle this separately,” explains Bourcier, “and it would have gone into the G(od) O(nly) K(nows), but we just kept going back to the contents of this one puncheon, and it showed so well.” Sandalwood, resin, lightly-cooked strawberry, and hints of game put me in mind of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This is less polished, buoyant, or fine-fruited on the palate than the corresponding God Only Knows bottling, with more evident albeit fine-grained tannins. It’s the depth of carnal—game, red meat, and marrow—savor, and its sheer persistence, that render this jaw-dropping. I would look for at least a dozen years of rivetingly fascinating evolution. —Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. (there are just 181 magnums of this juice): Bright medium red. Musky aromas of moss, peat and spices. Juicy and light on its feet, offering a lovely pliant texture and solid underlying structure. More about subtle pie spices and pepper now than primary cherry/berry fruit, but there's little evidence of new oak here. Thoroughly ripe and very long. Wonderfully soil-driven Grenache. —Stephen Tanzer, Intenational Wine Cellar

2005 Wallah Wallah Syrah Special #1

98 Points. The Syrahs start with the 2005 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard Neutral Barrel. This cuvee (25 cases), bottled only in magnum, was co-fermented with some Viognier and aged in neutral oak. The Syrah was a vineyard selection that ripened later. The aromatics receive a floral lift from the Viognier along with mineral, spice notes, meat, game, and blue berry. Layered, succulent, and elegant, the wine has exceptional length and purity. Baron is unsure if and when this wine might be sold. —Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. Representing the first such reserve bottling for Cayuse; filled in magnum only (like its more recent Grenache counterpart); and destined to be released soon, Baron’s 2005 Syrah Wallah Wallah #1 (that’s no misprint: two thousand and five; and two “h”s) was vinified with 8% Viognier. An improbably-haunting bouquet of freesia, mint, bergamot, black truffle, kirsch, and confitured cherry rises mesmerizingly from the glass. Polished, glycerin-rich and liqueur-like not only in its texture but also its expression of ripe red fruits, it offers multi-boned, marrow-rich beef stock and black truffle broth, all laced with saliva-liberating salinity. The finish comes in generous, endlessly-undulating waves of flavor that will practically knock you over with their sheer buoyancy. I’d predict at least 15 years of blissful cohabitation any magnums of this you manage to score; nor will I be surprised if it achieves yet greater beauty. —David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

96 Points. (there was just one barrel of this juice, bottled entirely in magnums; co-fermented with a bit of viognier) Good deep red-ruby. Knockout nose combines dark fruits, pineapple, peach, violet, woodsmoke, pepper and a saline nuance. Conveys an impression of great density without any excess weight, offering a texture of liquid silk and incredible perfume to its dark berry, pineapple (from the viognier?) and pepper flavors. Finishes with perfectly ripe tannins and outstanding aromatic persistence. This barrel stood out for its "overt aromatic character," noted Baron. —Stephen Tanzer, Intenational Wine Cellar

93 Points. Bright and jazzy, with a distinctively red cast to the color and a flavor profile of raspberry and rose petal. Powdery tannins and stony notes add to the complexity and harmony. Finishes with snap. Drink now through 2022. —Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

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