Monday, May 12, 2014

Cayuse Weekend in Walla Walla


This past April, our wine loving group made the trek from Portland out to Walla Walla for "Cayuse Weekend". We went last year also, but one (large) difference this year was the fact that yours truly finally made it onto the Cayuse Vineyards mailing list, after a 7 year (!!!) wait. This means I get to buy wine from the winery, and get to attend release weekend tastings. I didn't get to pick up any wine this year, as the 2012's were still in barrel, but next year I'll get my first allocation: 1 3-pack of 2012 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah. YES!!!

Note: If you haven't signed up for the Cayuse Wait List, I would HIGHLY recommend that you do, as well as Baron's second label, No Girls Wines

Back to the weekend! We hit Cayuse on Friday, after a quick lunch at The Worm Ranch, and a palate-cleansing tasting at Basel Cellars. In addtion to meeting founder/owner/winemaker Christophe Baron, who was extremely nice and quite fun to chat with, we tasted through barrel samples of the 2012 lineup, paired with some delicious hors d'oeuvres. Here are the wines:
  • 2011 God Only Knows Grenache
  • 2012 Camaspelo (84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot)
  • 2012 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah
  • 2012 En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah
  • 2012 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah
  • 2012 Bionic Frog Syrah
  • 2011 Armada Vineyard Syrah
  • 2012 Impulsivo Tempranillo
All were amazing and, although very, very young, drinking quite well. I'm quite sure they had been decanted for some time. The Impulsivo was locked up pretty tightly, and several 2011 wines were included due to the un-readiness of their 2012 versions. 

The snacks served all came from estate-raised livestock. Here's the list:
  • Cucumber with Olive Tapenade
  • Slow-Roasted Lamb on Chickpea Crisp
  • Rosemary & Thyme Lamb Meatball with Arrabiatta Sauce
  • Chevre and Thyme Gougeres
  • Country Pate and Cherry Gastrique
All were delicious, although I avoided the pate/cherry thing (I don't like either ingredient), with my favorite being the lamb meatballs. So good with the wines! 

Other wineries we visited over the weekend were Sleight of Hand Cellars (epic Grenache party Friday night), El Corazon (epic "Pants Optional" party Saturday night), Rasa Vineyards (epic wines, ALWAYS), Mark Ryan Winery (epic carnitas tacos), Charles Smith/K Vintners, Reynvaan Vineyards, and Cadaretta Winery. A great weekend, tasty dinner at T. Maccarones, extremely fun and laid back. We missed a lot of wineries this trip, but made up for it with the higher amount of fun. If you haven't visited Walla Walla, I really think you need to plan it!