Charles & Charles Red Blend 2011
Other Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
The aromas have the same signature blackberry, violet, currant and mocha that it's had in previous vintages but also takes on more of a cigar box component. These flavors carry through on the palate which is medium bodied, soft and luscious. A portion of the Syrah was whole cluster fermented which brings some dark, spicy flavors. After blending together the wine was aged in French oak for a shirt period to enhance the mocha, toast and sweet vanilla flavors and soften the mid palate.
Blend: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah
Charles & Charles Winery
A collaboration founded in 2008 between Food & Wine Magazine Winemaker of the Year, Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) and Charles Bieler (Three Thieves, BIELER Pere et Fils, Sombra mezcal, and the Gotham Project). They produce just two wines each year, a rosé made in the old school way, and a cabernet sauvignon and syrah red blend. All the grapes for their wines are farmed sustainably in the Columbia Valley (largely in the Wahluke Slope AVA) by Butch and Jerry Milbrandt.
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About Columbia Valley
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.
Merlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.
Washington State is exploding onto the world’s wine scene. The second largest wine-producing region in the United States, the number of wineries has more than doubled in the past decade to more than 900 today. The great majority of the state’s 50,000+ acres of vineyards are grown on the east side of the Cascade mountains, where they enjoy 300+ days of sunshine a year, well-draining soils and a diurnal shift ideal for wine grapes.
Washington is not defined by a single grape variety, with nearly 70 varieties to explore. Out of these, the top five are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Syrah. Winemakers and grape growers are driven by a pioneering spirit, and aren’t afraid to experiment with new techniques in an ever-growing quest to make world-class wine. With a state-of-the-art research program, near-perfect growing conditions and the possibility for exponential growth – Washington State is proving itself to be a force to be reckoned with.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.