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March 20, 2008

05 Cayuse Vineyards, Walla Walla Cailloux Vineyard Syrah

There's nothing American about it. From the winery, to the vineyard, to the varietal, to the winemaker's own name. Christophe Baron. The Baron of Walla Walla. The feudal vassal tending to his land. Our noble Lord. And yet, he might be the most American thing we've got going when it comes to wine. From one word for rocks (Cayuse) to the next (Cailloux), it's clear what this syrah's intentions are--to send vines scampering, deep into some semblance of soil, for whatever cysts of water they can find. Beneath each stone, another stone. None but the toughest would survive, and no one knew who would live to tell their story. A story of pride, really. This is the first wine I've had that I can say actually tastes like hubris. It's concentrated to the point of being sticky, and you can see the grapes smiling maddeningly in your face, gritting their teeth, give me one last shot, your best, right in the jaw. It's not like Mitolo or Glaetzer--not rich in the way shiraz has defined the grape for you. There's no milk chocolate or vanilla sundae. It's not smooth. All the concentration that shows here shows from the grapes. This is what wine would taste like if Ferran Adria were a vintner, bringing to life fruit filled with only the essence of the fruit itself. It's wild French country weeds beside the freshly blacktopped thoroughfare, lavendar and violet on one side, a half-masticated hog on the other, its ass crisping in the sun. You take a sip of water from your saddle leather canteen. Is it raining black pepper? Out in front of you is the ocean, Canada to the north, and a juke box turned to rock and roll.


Anonymous Ziraud said...

Nilay, you're easily one of the best wine writers I've ever come across. If you don't have a paying gig, you deserve one!

12:46 PM  

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