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Andrew Will Winery Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP94
  • W&S94
  • WS91
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

This beautifully refined wine is very pure and nicely ripe on both the nose and the palate. The black current, sweet dark berries, tobacco leaf, and stony soil characteristics are accompanied by hints of floral notes. Full bodied, this wine is seamless in texture with fine-grained tannins, noticeable grip, and a long memorable finish. It is a superb example what this vineyard and AVA can deliver.

Blend: 64% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the more backwards, structured efforts, the 2012 Champoux Vineyard is a blend of 64% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon that was raised in 35% new French oak. Full-bodied, serious and loaded with tannin, it offers impressive currant and darker fruits, tobacco leaf and crushed rock like aromas and flavors that continue to gain depth and richness with time in the glass. It should hit full maturity at around age 10, and nicely for a decade or more after that.
Rating: 94+
W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
The 2012 Champoux is about two-thirds cabernet franc, with the balance merlot and cabernet sauvignon. It’s dark and warm at the outset, with scents of plums glazed with warm brown sugar, a hint of mocha emerging with air. The texture is a marvel, dark, suave, as plush as suede, with a lean mineral frame that gives the wine its length and gravitas. Cellar it for a year, then serve with steak.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Bright and tangy, with a sharp edge to the red pepper—accented red berry flavors, followed by blueberry and plum notes that emerge gradually. Finishes with finesse against fine tannins. Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Andrew Will Winery

Andrew Will Winery

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Andrew Will Winery, Horse Heaven Hills, 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.

Horse Heaven Hills

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"Surely this is Horse Heaven!”

Its wide prairies and rolling expanses led an early pioneer to proclaim that the region looked like “horse heaven,” and as a result, the area was appropriately named. Horse Heaven Hills is in south central Washington state, geographically bound on its northern border by the Yakima River and in the south, by the larger Columbia River.

Its proximity to the Columbia River contributes to a variety of climactic factors that dramatically affect its grapes. In particular, an increase in wind from changes in pressure along the river, which flows from the cool and wet Pacific Ocean, inland to Washington’s hot and arid plains, creates 30% more wind than there would be otherwise. These winds moderate temperatures, protect against mold and rot, reduce the risk of early and late season frosts, diminish canopy size and toughen grape skins.

The vineyards bordering the river are on steep, south-facing, well-exposed slopes, with well-drained, sandy-loam soils. But the soils of the appellation are diverse throughout, ranging from wind-blown sand and loess, Missoula Flood sediment, and rocky basalt. Horse Heaven Hills has an arid continental climate with elevations ranging from 200 to 1,800 feet.

The first vines of the appellation were planted in 1972 in an optimal spot now referred to as the Champoux Vineyard. Today it remains the source of some of Washington’s most desirable and expensive Cabernet Sauvignons. In fact, the appellation as a whole boasts many of Washington’s top scoring wines. Its primary grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling.

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 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 lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally 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 in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

GPSAW12CHAMP_2012 Item# 301693