2018 Cayuse Vineyards, Flying Pig, Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley.
The stunning Cayuse Flying Pig red is made from 45% Cabernet Franc, 44% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon coming from Christophe Baron’s En Cerise Vineyard that was planted back 1998 with Syrah and Bordeaux varietals with a high percentage of Franc which is exceptional in this wine, don’t let the weird or playful label fool you here, this is incredible stuff. This 2018 is deeply colored, perfumed and exotically spiced with earthy black fruit fruits and is rawly sexy in the glass, in a way that blows away most Saint-Emilion offerings right up there and including some very famous Chateaux, people that love and admire Cheval Blanc might want to look away! The Flying Pig, which typically sees between 40 and 60% new wood is beautifully opaque with a black/purple hue and has classic Cayuse, somewhat meaty presence, with a bouquet of mineral, crushed berries, Asian and sweet baking spices, incense and sandalwood that leads to an opulent full bodied palate black cherry, plum, blackberry and black currant fruit with an underlying feline power and tannic structure. The smoky wood is in perfect harmony with the density and luxurious fruit and accents of creme de cassis, tobacco, bell pepper, liquid violets and anise add to the complexity in this awesome wine. Air and time prove very helpful to fail out all areas and give a glimpse of the potential greatness this wine most definitely possesses, it adds blueberry compote, mint and sweet cedar to the fine mix of heady flavors, this Flying Pig will go decades in the bottle. The Flying Pig, is to Cayuse, for Bordeaux varietals as Bionic Frog is to Cayuse, for Syrah, exceptional quality and flair in the bottle and with a playfully strange label!

En Cerise, translated, means “cherry,” which is highly appropriate since this 10-acre vineyard was a cherry orchard in its former life and is set on the severely stony soils that first caught Christophe’s attention in 1996, and helped him make the decision to make wine here in the utterly remote area of Oregon, resulting in highly stressed vineyards that average a yield of only two tons per acre. While of course Syrah is the dominant fruit here, as Cayuse is most famous for, there is awesome Cabernet Franc grapes grown here, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Tempranillo and a little Viognier, which is mostly co-fermented into the famed Syrah bottling, making up the balance. The Flying Pig and Cayuse’s other Bordeaux blend the Camaspelo that come from these grapes are uniquely different animals, with this Flying Pig being a bit more pretty and with lively acidity that gives it a lovely lift, while the Camaspelo is wildly raw, gamey and leathery, at least when I’ve had it and is for me less sultry seductive. The Flying Pig, which is aged somewhere between 18 and 24 months in barrique, keeps your attention for ages and the finish is forever with a combination of the fruit and floral notes lingering on and on, and it should gain a ton of extra dimension with age, there’s no question this is one of the most compelling Cabernet Franc led new world Bordeaux blends I’ve ever had, it joins Dalla Valle’s Maya and Favia is this rarified company. Tasted at the Slow Wine 2022 tasting in San Francisco along with Baron’s Horsepower Syrah, the Cayuse Armada God Only Knows Grenache and the Impulsivo, the Tempranillo based bottling, all of which were stunning, proving this winery’s staying power.
($150-240 Est.) 97 Points, grapelive

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