2019 Cayuse, Tempranillo “Impulsivo” En Chamberlin Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley.
While renown for his Syrah and Grenache based wines, Cayuse’s Christophe Baron also does some fantastic Bordeaux blends, Cabernet Sauvignon and this awesome Tempranillo, called the Impulsivo, which is very much in the mold of a great Ribera del Douro, with incredible fruit density and thrilling palate impact, it’s a real head turner, something you’d not want to miss. Tasted at the San Francisco Slow Wine Tasting along side Cayuse’s Grenache, the rare Cabernet Franc led Flying Pig and Baron’s Horsepower Syrah, the Tempranillo “Impulsivo” En Chamberlin Vineyard, making for amazing set of rarities to review, and super hard choices to pick a favorite, but this Tempranillo was a clear stand out in the line up. This 2019 Impulsivo has a seductive inky blue/black and garnet hue in the glass and a sultry dark and smoky nose that leads to a complex array of flavors on the concentrated full bodied pale with blackberry coulis, black cherry, plum and grilled orange fruits that are accented by graphite, cedar, sweet pipe tobacco, caramelized fennel, mineral tones and a subtle floral dimension. Think of this wine as an American Pingus! Thick and opulent for sure, but with some nice lift from natural acidity and an earthy and transparent personality, along with a young taut structure and balance that certainly gives the impression that it will age well.
Cayuse is a small domaine located in the Stones of the Walla Walla Valley, that is area that sees its vines crossing over to the Oregon side (from Washington state) and set on big cobbles, it is almost insane to think how these vines were planted in the rocky terroir here. These sites, which some compare to Chateauneuf du Pape with the large stones are some of the most unique plots in Pacific Northwest, and have made Cayuse one of the most iconic wineries in the new world. All Cayuse wines are created from estate fruit, and this one comes from the En Chamberlin Vineyard, which Christophe planted in 2000 on 10 stony acres with the Tempranillo being grafted on phyloxera resistant rootstock. This vineyard produces three of Baron’s most celebrated wines, including The Widowmaker Cabernet-Sauvignon, this Impulsivo Tempranillo and very Heritage like En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah. These new releases from Cayuse are tight and powerful wines that should be decanted and paired with hearty cuisine, but they also posses a raw beauty and finesse that truly make them so alluring, especially the God Only Knows Grenache, which has a soulful expression, reminding me of Rayas and Sadie Family, and this very sexy Tempranillo that should drink well for decades to come. Cayuse employs all organic and biodynamic farming and minimal intervention in the cellar to make wines influenced by place first and foremost, which has made them incredibly hard to get, but well worth the effort!
($139 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive