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Andrew Will Winery Ciel du Cheval 2013

Bordeaux Red Blends from Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • W&S94
  • WE92
  • RP92
  • JS92
  • WS91
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This red blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc once again revisits the idea of creating a wine from Ciel du Cheval that doesn’t use Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine shows off an intriguing combination of red berries, plums, espresso, and river rocks on the nose.

Blend: 56% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
Chris Camarda’s Ciel du Cheval bottling is often dominated by merlot (56 percent in 2013, the balance cabernet franc). It is often his richest as well, and this wine doesn’t disappoint, with scents of cedar, red plum and plum skin. The flavors are unabashedly intense in a Red Mountain mode, the radiant heat of the place lending uncharacteristic power to a merlot-based red, with the lasting tannins for beef tenderloin.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
A blend of Merlot (56%) and Cabernet Franc, this wine opens with aromas of flowers, huckleberry, cardamom and green herbs, along with light barrel accents. The flavors are dense and rich but far from over the top, supported by chewy tannins and a fruit-filled finish that sails into the distance. Best after 2020. Cellar Selection.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Showing classic Red Mountain characteristics of dusty earth, graphite, savory fruits and dried violets, the 800-case 2013 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard is medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced, elegant and layered on the palate, with present, savory tannin. More closed, reticent and restrained aromatically, this beauty needs 4-5 years of cellaring and will keep through 2033. Made from 56% Merlot and 44% Cabernet that spent 18 months in 35% new oak, this is one of the cases where the terroir supersedes the variety. Rating: 92+
JS 92
James Suckling
Some neat depth, more cassis and blue fruits on offer here. This also has a floral edge, showing a good depth of aromas. The palate has a smooth deep-set core and a really fresh, plush finish. Nicely layered and long. A blend of 56% merlot and 44% cabernet franc. Drink or hold.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Firm in texture, with medium density to the ripe currant and spice flavors, hinting at red pepper as the finish lingers against a moderate grip of tannins. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2018 through 2021.
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Andrew Will Winery

Andrew Will Winery

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Andrew Will Winery, 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.

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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.

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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.

SOU468776_2013 Item# 168105