2011 Cayuse "Armada Vineyard" Walla Walla Valley Syrah

SKU #1180400 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Even better, the 2011 Syrah Armada is probably my favorite of the 2011s. Deep, rich and layered, with phenomenal black plum, damp earth, pepper, mushroom, charcuterie and spice-driven aromas and flavors, this beauty tastes like the essence of this unique terroir. Full-bodied, rich and layered, it too should flesh out beautifully with short-term cellaring and have upwards of two decades of longevity. (JD)  (6/2014)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Soft and ripe, layering plum and mulberry fruit with tarry, rocky overtones. A hint of roasted meat develops as the finish lingers, with polished tannins. Offers an open, almost weightless feel. Drink now through 2025. (HS)  (6/2015)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good full red. Wild, musky, expressive aromas of raspberry, game, woodsmoke, pepper, bacon fat, squid ink and black olive tapenade. Plush and salty on the palate, with raspberry and smoked meat flavors accented by subtle minerality. Finishes with plush tannins and lingering notes of smoke, game and spices. For all its fleshiness, there’s something a bit ungiving about this Syrah: is there more to come? (I should note that an earlier bottle was much more backward and gripping, showing little in the way of easy sweetness to its reticent flavors of singed raspberry, peat and briney olive juice. (ST)  (12/2014)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 On display are the requisite Cayuse flavors of funk, savory herb and composted earth, with moderately ripe black fruits in the background. A whiff of pine needles and plenty of forest floor accents complete the picture. (PG)  (2/2015)

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

Washington

- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.
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