At this point, it is a wine of bearing with pure fruit flavors and good structure, as well as a sense of self-possession and charm. This wine will undoubtedly need some time to show its promise.
Andrew Will Winery
Andrew Will Winery was started in 1989 and is owned by Chris Camarda. The winery was launched out of a love for wine that Chris developed while working in the restaurant trade for almost 20 years. Named after his son Will and nephew Andrew, Andrew Will has been a major contributor in putting Washington State on the map as a world-class wine-producing region.
Andrew Will wines are labeled by vineyard with each wine a different makeup of the Bordeaux varietals. These vineyards, all in the Columbia Valley, include Camarda's own estate Two Blondes. He is part owner of the Champoux Vineyard and sources from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard.
View all Andrew Will Winery Wines
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
I’ve written before about Andrew Will wines. The flagship Sorella is probably my most consistent favorite of all the wines I’ve encountered. Sorella never ceases to impress me with its seductiveness, consistency of quality, and understatement of presence. It’s a great wine but its restraint beckons you to learn that for yourself; it won’t scream it out to you. So yes, while I love Sorella, I have also come to appreciate that the winemaker and proprietor of Andrew Will – Chris Carmada – has several other wines to offer. Tonight, I pulled his ’04 Champoux blend out of the cellar for accompaniment to my husband’s phenomenal grilled steaks and spice rubbed pork loin. I have to tell you, it is incredible. This is the exemplification of what it is to pair wine and food so well. The wine is wondrous. It’s serious and brooding. I don’t know if the wine makes the meat better or if the meat makes the wine better but I have my suspicion that it is the former. I’m not much of a carnivore, but this I can definitely appreciate. Carmada’s Champoux blend is 44 percent cabernet sauvignon, 25 percent cabernet franc, 22 percent merlot, and 9 percent petite verdot. It’s not so different from Sorella but it has a bit more cabernet franc and less cabernet sauvignon and I think I like that. The aromas bring to mind blackberries, plums, cassis, and chocolate but there’s also the smoke, cedar, and graphite. It’s just like Sorella, but no, it’s not. It’s a different presentation. I can’t help but be entirely impressed each time I open an Andrew Will wine. It’s fine for sipping alone, but it’s even better with a lovingly prepared meal and good company. In my mind, that’s priceless.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.