TN: 2013 Cayuse - Syrah Armada Vineyard (USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley)

2013 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (9/19/2023)
– decanted shortly before initial taste –
– tasted non-blind over 2 - 3 hours –

NOSE: absolutely intoxicating aromas here! savory and red-fruited; slight olive note; hints of funk, cumin, and leather goods in Moroccan souks.

BODY: garnet color of medium-deep depth, with slight bricking. {forgot to note weight}

TASTE: no tannins; Cayuse funk; medium acid; 13.4% alc. is well-hidden for me (opposite for Ashley); roasted meat and iodine; hints of stony mineral and burning embers; I could go for a bit more tannin and a touch more acidity, but these are minor quibbles. Drink Now and over the Near Term. Ash’s gut impression score is 89, on account of the alcohol being quite pronounced for her; by contrast, I’m far into Excellent territory for this Armada, largely on the strength of its captivating aromatics.

50, 5, 15, 17, 9 = (96 pts.)


Great note. Took me right back to my last experience with Armada where I couldn’t keep my nose out of the glass!

Cayuse Syrahs are some of my absolute favorite wines. I’m a little surprised they dont get a bit more love.

Hi Brian

Don’t own any Armada, but have a number of 13/14 BF/Cailloux

How do you assess the aging curve on these?

1 Like

Wish I could say, Dave, but I’d be doing us both a disservice if I were to say anything other than “I don’t know.”

I’ve never tasted a BF. Back in 2020, I thought a 2007 Cailloux seemed to be in its prime window. Back in 2011 I thought a 2015 was drinking well, but young.

Coincidentally, just this past weekend I pulled a '13 Cailloux; I’m sure that one will end up in my glass sometime over the next six months, or so — I’ll post my TN here, once that day comes.

1 Like

I’ll add my .02 on aging Cayuse. Like a lot WA and domestic Syrah for that matter, I rarely see much improvement past a decade of aging, perhaps a small bit so refinement, but nothing revelatory. To be clear, many of the high end Syrahs like Cayuse are in no danger of falling off a cliff, and they will hold the fort so to speak as long as needed. Specifically with Cayuse, the Armada is likely the best candidate for post 15 years +. I think I have an 08 I should open soon come to think of it. The real surprise of aging Cayuse is the Flying Pig - which is of course a cab franc - merlot blend. I had the 09 FP last month that absolutely blew me away and had another 10 years easy if I had another bottle.

1 Like

Great note, Brian. I particularly liked the, “…leather goods in Moroccan souks.” I’ve never been to Morocco, but I think I know the aroma (somehow) you’re describing.

Thanks, Brandon. When I wrote that, I knew it would likely not be helpful to (many) others, but I couldn’t help myself, because it is a clear and distinct smell memory for me.

Having been to both Agadir and Marrakesh it certainly sparks a memory. I cross posted your note in the Washington wine thread.

I agree Dale. As I’ve written in other posts in WB, syrah is the favorite grape in our house but I don’t think it benefits from extended aging, beyond 12 years let’s say, but with a few exceptions (Hermitage being the obvious example). The most stunning domestic syrahs, Reynvaan and Cayuse included, have been in the 8-10 year range. BDX varieties of course can age well but I’ll still drink Rhone style wines 10:1 to them.