Mount Merlot?

After falling in love with a plot of very rocky soil, Cristophe Baron moved from the Champagne region of France to Walla Walla, Wash. (home of the sweet onion), in 1993. Today, as the state's only biodynamic (uberorganic) winemaker, he is producing plump, cultworthy Syrah, the noble grape of the northern Rhone, under his label, Cayuse.

Baron is but one of a pioneering crop of winemakers who have been stretching their trade across the eastern part of Washington. The state built its wine reputation on Bordeaux-like blends, using Merlot and Cabernet.

To sample for yourself, make the four-hour drive...

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