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Christophe Baron grew up among the vineyards and cellars of his family's centuries-old Champagne house, Baron Albert. His sense of adventure, however, led him to become the first Frenchman to establish a winery in Washington State.
While visiting the Walla Walla Valley in 1996, Christophe spotted a plot of land that had been plowed up to reveal acres of softball-sized stones. This stony soil, this terroir, was just like that of some of the most prestigious French appellations. The difficult ground would stress the grapevines, making them produce more mature, concentrated fruit.
He named his vineyard after the Cayuse, a Native American tribe whose name was taken from the French cailloux--which means, rocks. Hours of back-breaking work later, Cayuse Vineyards has become five vineyards encompassing 41 acres.
The majority is planted with Syrah, and the rest dedicated to Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Tempranillo and Viognier. All of the vineyards are planted in rocky earth within the Walla Walla Valley appellation. Cayuse was the first winery in Washington State to use biodynamic farming methods.
Starting out reticent and closed, the 2019 The Widowmaker En Chamberlin Vineyard opens up nicely with air, yielding a great, classy bouquet of red and black currants, damp earth, tobacco leaf, graphite, and smoked herbs. Straight-up gorgeous on the palate, it has the purity, finesse, and elegance of this cooler vintage yet has a great mid-palate, just about perfect tannins, and a great finish. It needs 3-4 years or so of bottle age but will have two decades or more of longevity. Best After 2025 Rating : 98+
A beguiling blend of black currants, sage, scorched earth, hints of animal musk and pencil shavings make the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon The Widowmaker En Chamberlin Vineyard hard to resist. This is pure elegance on the palate, velvety-smooth in feel, with a combination of citrus-tinged berries and dark chocolate adding lovely contrasts. It finishes dramatically long, with cooling herbal and mineral tones that resonate above a coating of silky tannins. The 2019 may already be a pleasure today, yet it possesses an underlying power that will reward cellaring. It’s rare to see a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla reach such a perfect balance.
Generously layered in the glass with aromas of turned earth, blackberry jus and dusty purple flowers, the 2019 The Widowmaker en Chamberlin Vineyard is delightfully rustic yet also possesses a new-world shine. Medium to full-bodied, the 14.1% alcohol wine saddles the line between earthy and fruity flavors before showing a balanced structure with succulent acidity and fine-grained tannins.