Andrew Will Winery Ciel du Cheval 2010
Bordeaux Red Blends from Yakima Valley, Washington
The winemakers of Andrew Will have put no Cabernet Sauvignon into this blend. They have for a few years wanted to make a wine solely from Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Ciel du Cheval. They picked the right year to try as the two varieties I chose are strong in the 2010 vintage. A really finely set structure is aided by the transparent and yet deeply flavored fruit present in the 2010 vintage from this vineyard. Followers of the property will know that a refined and laudatory austerity is one of the hallmarks of the vineyard. Leaving out the Cabernet Sauvignon has brought the vintage into perfect tune.
The Wine Advocate - "Showing more ripeness and a kiss of sweet oak, as well as the Red Mountain tannin, the 2010 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard (52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Franc) is a purple-tinged beauty that offers up ripe red plum, black licorice, iron, dried spices and hints of leather along with a medium-bodied, sweetly fruited and chewy feel on the palate. Admirably concentrated, with good tannin, it too will benefit from short-term cellaring and have a decade of longevity. Drink 2015-2020."
International Wine Cellar - "(a 52/48 blend of merlot and cabernet franc): Good bright medium red. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of red raspberry, tobacco leaf and flowers. At once dense and fresh, with a suave texture and enticing inner-mouth aromatic character to its sexy flavors of red plum, blueberry and tobacco. Finishes with smooth tannins and terrific length. With the structure and verve of the vintage, this should age beautifully.
Wine Spectator - "Features firm tannins, with a minty edge to the dark berry and toast flavors, finishing with density and intensity. Needs time. Merlot and Cabernet Franc."
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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
About Yakima ValleyView a map of Yakima Valley wineries
Washington's first appellation, Yakima Valley has over one third of the state's vineyards. The rolling foothills of the Cascades give the vines a good sun angle, so grapes are well-ripened come harvest time. Merlot dominates the plantings here, creating elegant wines with complex fruit, herbs & structure. Syrah continues to grow in popularity, creating blanced wines with spicy black fruit.A few smaller, but notable appellations that lie within or just outside of Yakima Valley include:
Rattlesnake Hills, which gained AVA status in 2006, lies in the north with 17 wineries.
Horse Heaven Hills, another recent sub-appellation hugs the south end of Yakima and is known for its outstanding vineyard sites that create incredible and collectible red wines.
Red Mountain, known for its intense and delicious reds, is located on the eastern side of Yakima Valley.
About WashingtonRelated Links: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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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.