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Andrew Will Winery Ciel du Cheval 2011

Bordeaux Red Blends from Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP93
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14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Like the previous vintage, the Ciel does not possess any Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. The wine exhibits hints of damson plum skin, smoke, cardamom and cinnamon. As the wine opens up a secondary layer of minerality reminiscent of river stones emerges. There is a light sense of earth combined with a spiciness that lends itself to a very complex mid palate. The bright, yet focused tannins create a approachable wine that will only become more complex with time.

Blend: 52% Cabernet Franc, 48% Merlot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the top wines in the vintage, the 2011 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard (52% Cabernet Franc and 48% Merlot that spent 21 months in 35% new French oak) offers thrilling amounts of fruit and texture, with full-bodied richness, excellent mid-palate depth and sweet tannin. Loaded with both red and black currant fruit, dried flowers, damp earth and hints of meatiness, it can be consumed anytime over the coming 10-12 years.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Half Merlot and half Cabernet Franc, this firm, minerally, tightly wound Bordeaux-style blend seems anchored in the latter grape. Lovely whiffs of coffee grounds, wild berry and currant, stiff acids and sculpted tannins work together to craft a complex red. Cellar Selection.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
This blend of nearly equal parts cabernet franc and merlot leads with the blue fruit you might expect from Ciel, but it’s more minty and high-toned and less massive than most Red Mountain wines. Vinous, dry and focused, the intensity of the wine gives the impression of purity more than power, with a finish that feels like a skater's schuss to a stop on the ice. Impressive, but for the cellar.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
This firm textured version offers a plush core of red berry and cherry flavors, shaded with sweet spice notes as the finish lingers. Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
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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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As the first recognized wine-growing region in the Pacific Northwest, Yakima Valley is centrally located within Washington’s vast Columbia Valley. The region also includes Washington’s oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines, Otis Vineyard, planted in 1957, and Harrison Hill Vineyard, planted in 1963. Yakima Valley contains three smaller sub-regions: Rattlesnake Hills, Red Mountain, and Snipes Mountain and is ideal for both red and white wine production. In fact, Yakima Valley is Washington’s most diverse region, boasting more than 40 different grape varieties over about one hundred miles.

The cooler parts of the valley are home to almost half of the Chardonnay and Riesling produced in the state! Both are made in a wide range of styles depending on the conditions of the vineyard site.

But its warmer locations yield a large proportion of Washington’s best Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The finest Yakima Valley reds are jam-packed full of red cherry, currant, raspberry or blackberry fruit, as well as cocoa, herb, spice and savory notes, and exhibit a supple texture, great body, focus and length.

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.

GVDAW71021102_2011 Item# 144970