Probably the most unusual bend we've ever
assembled for Ciel, but all to outstanding
effect. This vintage is as dark, brooding, and
structured as any Ciel to date. The nose shows
deep layers of dark fruit and spice. The palate is
atypically big for Ciel, with waves of black cherry, blueberry and plums crashing on bedrock style tannins. This is a large scaled wine, but the acidity brought by the Franc and Petit Verdot keep the flavors in check, preventing Ciel from becoming cloying or thick. This is truly a wine for mid to long term cellaring, or a couple of hours in the decanter.
"Bright medium-deep red. Cherry, raspberry, licorice and flowers on the nose, plus a hint of tobacco leaf; lightly medicinal in a Cheval Blanc way. Then juicy, pure and tightly wound, with superb depth of bright red berry and floral flavors supported by firm acidity and solid tannic structure. Plenty of density and sweetness here but also energetic and light on its feet. Spreads out impressively on the back end, with the tannins reaching the incisors. Seems tighter than the 2007 version at a similar stage and really calls for five years of cellaring, even if it could be enjoyed today with food. Proprietor/winemaker Ben Smith describes 2008 as "a compressed harvest and a structured vintage for us." He normally picks on the early side (the pH here is 3.68) but notes that this wine is just over 14% alcohol. These are some of Washington's most Bordeaux-like wines, and Cadence is now firmly in the top tier of the state's producers: recent vintages have brought sweeter fruit and greater density of material without any loss of structure or verve.
International Wine Cellar
"The 2008 Ciel du Cheval is a blend of 38% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, and 12% Merlot. Herbs, spices, violets, minerals, and black fruits compose the bouquet of this structured offering. In the glass it reveals some elegance, excellent balance, and a lengthy finish. It will deliver optimal drinking from 2013 to 2023. "
The Wine Advocate