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Flat front label of wine

Andrew Will Winery Ciel du Cheval 2008

Bordeaux Red Blends from Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • W&S94
  • RP93
  • WS92
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine is currently the front runner in this release. The blend of structure, power and depth made the wine the favorite in a recent tasting of ten vintages of Ciel du Cheval (the much maligned 2000 vintage was second... so much for ideology). The wine is immediately expressive as well as fully in control of the austerity this vineyard always shows.

Blend: 36% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
Chris Camarda accedes to the power of Red Mountain fruit in this blend of cabernet franc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The wine embodies the brawn and power of that appellation, all savory brown herbs, leather and black tea, with a payload of black, earthy tannin bringing up the rear. A glimmer of red-fruited franc-ness appears after three days of air, suggesting that everything is firmly in place for cellaring.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The vineyard blends begin with the 2008 Ciel du Cheval. It is composed of 36% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 32% Cabernet Franc. Alluring aromas of pain grille, pencil lead, violets, incense, black currant, and blackberry inform the nose of a spicy, layered, impeccably balanced and structured wine that will benefit from 3-4 years of cellaring.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
This has a serious grip of tannins around a rumbling core of blackberry, licorice and pepper flavors, pushing through the firm finish. Needs time, but should eventually gain elegance. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2013 through 2020.
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Andrew Will Winery

Andrew Will Winery

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Andrew Will Winery, Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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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.

Yakima Valley

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Often considered to be the heart of Washington wine country, the Yakima Valley is a sub-AVA of the vast Columbia Valley. The first AVA established in Washington, it is home to some of the state’s most established wineries, and contains three smaller sub-regions: Rattlesnake Hills, Red Mountain, and Snipes Mountain. The climate here is cooler than the rest of the Columbia Valley, making the Yakima Valley ideal for growing white varieties.

Chardonnay is the most planted grape here, followed closely by Riesling—both made in a wide range of styles depending on the warmth of the vineyard site. Because of the cooler climate, Merlot outnumbers darker-fruited, more tannic Cabernet Sauvignon here—an anomaly for Washington viticulture—and takes on characteristics of sweet red fruit with a supple texture, and sometimes notes of chocolate and mint. Yakima Valley Syrah is earthy and savory, complemented by a wide range of berry flavors from red to black.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

GZT1920517_2008 Item# 111131