Cayuse On The Bubble

I have been Buying Cayuse wine since 2009. Had a Bottle years before, liked it, signed up and made list. Here is my Dilemma, I recently tried two seperate 2010S the Armada and God Only Knows. I don’t know if my tastes have changed, but I found the Earthy, Funky smell and taste to be truly overpowering. Not that the wine was Bad, just not what I expected. My problem is this, do I buy my current Allocation (which is alot) and assume I opened too early, or not order and risk getting Kicked off this exclusive list. Any feedback from the Group would be appreciated! Thanks!

Allan, I can’t tell you what to do but what I would say is don’t feel a hostage of any wine. In terms of being dropped or face getting kicked off, IMO, there are more important things to worry about then a bottle of wine or a winery holding you captive to keep ordering. And a lot more great wine out there, too.

You only mention one vintage, two different cuvees. Do you have others you can try to ensure your experience isn’t simply a vintage marker that is turning you off?

Thanks Frank, and Yes I do. I think over the next couple of Days I will sample the 07 and 09 of different cuvees. And your right, there are more important things to worry about!

I made the Cayuse list and never ordered. Just don’t love the wine. The world is filled with delicious (relatively cheap) syrah. I agree with Frank - don’t by because you feel you should!


I made the list 5-6 years ago, bought what they offered for 2 vintages, I think 07/08. Tried one and it was not in my wheelhouse. Yes, an exclusive list. I dropped off the next offer. as it was just not for me. As others have stated, to many others wines available and if you really want to try more, Winebid has many bottles available to try without being confined to the mailing list.

Allan, I have had several instances like yours, where, with Cayuse, I have felt like the “funk” has been overpowering. One time, with God Only Knows, I almost poured the wine out, but ended up keeping, and a couple hours later, with food, it was tremendous. But, other wines never have come around and I sat ther wondering why I keep buying them. But, I have a lot of friends who love the wines, and they are always interesting. Plus, you can always sell them for cost, or more. So, I have pared back and only order a few bottles a year. That way, if somebody wants to try one, I have them. And, if I ever feel like sharing or selling, I won’t lose money.

Polarizing wines. Some believe they are flawed. I love them and have been on the list from near the beginning. Understand not for everyone. The GOK is my favorite. Served to a well respected Spanish producer who was stunned by it and refused to believe it was new world until I showed him the bottle. I am a firm believer all Cayuse syrah and grenache needs extened bottle age to really show. The funk integrates but I am a funkaholic.

Listen to Frank. I used to agonize over not buying under threat of being dropped from a list. After 10 years of list buying, the one thing I can guaranty is that here will always be another list. I’ve dropped more lists than I’ve kept, and for some reason I still own enough wine to last me for a lifetime.

I made the list, drank one bottle I liked, but after that had a similar reaction… overpowering funk and stench. Oh well. I keep telling myself I’ll try Reynvaan instead but haven’t gone to the effort to track down a bottle.

For what it’s worth, it’s not the funk I object to (love me some Cameron!), it’s the lack of acidity.


I have found lack of acidity a big factor in most of the WA Syrah that I have. The last bottle of Rasa QED I opened was very disappointing and I used to love the stuff. I sold some to a friend who just loved it. I have numerous cases of the WA custom crush waiting in the cellar & pending. [snort.gif]

Alan - I believe you should stay on the list and buy everything you can. Or at least one bottle of everything. Otherwise, you won’t be able to post TNs about those wines and isn’t that the point?

BTW, I kind of like Cayuse Armada but there’s a lot of good Syrah in the world and I’m on no lists.

Don’t buy something you don’t like just for the sake of staying on the list. But it could just be the vintage you didn’t like so try some other bottles. I have found us moving away from WA Syrah after a short foray into them. I like the funkiness but my wife doesn’t so much. They also give me palate fatigue quickly because they are so darn big.

I have never gotten on the list after maybe 6 years. Since that time I have had 2 bottles that I didn’t like so I would probably never buy from them even if they let me onto their precious list. I have dropped other lists because I no longer liked the wines being produced or had multiple shipping issues. So, I would not feel compelled to stay on the list or buy if you don’t like them, even if the list is exclusive.

Why do people comtinue to buy wines they don’t appreciate? That’s the part that puzzles me. People love range Rovers but as someone with an auto tech background you couldn’t give me one for free. Unless you are buying these in order to flip for a profit why continue? Who are you trying to impress with the exclusivity? Plenty of great Syrah in the $30-$50 range.

I’m in the camp…if you don’t like it don’t buy it. There are many people trying to score these wines so step aside if you are not thrill with the wine.
I have been with Cayuse since the 2002 vintage and have loved the wines. I do think they need some age. 2 weekends ago, we had the 2006 Impulsivo and 2007 Cailloux with some good friends up in Seattle…both exceeded expectations…which were high.

Of course I agree with others who have said you shouldn’t feel obligated to keep buying. I also think it’s worth trying a couple more bottles with some age on them before making that decision. I really think these wines need age. Considering what you must be spending each year at this point, I would think it’s worth sourcing something even older than anything you have, as well as trying a couple of bottles from your early purchases. Then you can make the decision and be confident with it either way.

After having had many bottles of Cayuse, I am a firm believer that patience will be rewarded with these wines. I’m trying to keep my hands off my stash for as long as possible.

I did open an '08 Reynvaan In the Rocks the other that was great and continued to improve with air.

Allan, I don’t see where you reside, but if you have the opportunity, you should travel to WW for their cayuse weekend event, taste thru all the wines, so you have a good yardstick with which to make a better decision. Plus you can speak with Christophe and Trevor and get an idea of what’s what. If you live far far away from the NW… then I’d suggest you drop off the list and pursue other wines.