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Andrew Will Winery Sorella 2009
Blend: 65%, Cabernet Sauvignon 23%, Merlot 7%, Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot
Sourced entirely from the Champoux Vineyard, this Bordeaux-style blend is two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon. Yummy from the first sniff to the last sip, it’s packed with juicy berries and cassis, gracefully wrapped in layers of black olive, toast, clean earth and dark chocolate. Tannins are ripe and smooth.
This is a blend of two-thirds cabernet, about one-quarter merlot, the rest franc and petit verdot. It seems to fuse fruit and savory elements as if they were composed of the same material—a leather satchel, say, made from fruit skin. Savory notes of anise and leather are scented with black plum. The old-vine fruit clearly grounds the wine and gives it structure, but the tannins remain fine-grained and focused, the wine possessing a lift and energy that enlivens the palate as it extends its reach.
Fresh and lively, this is juicy with blackberry and floral flavors that keep dancing deftly through the finish, framed with firm tannins, but staying harmonious and gaining in intensity with each sip. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
With slightly less Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend compared to the 2010, the 2009 Sorella checks in with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. Very aromatic, if not a touch exotic, with floral, lavender and wild herb qualities giving way to a beautiful core of fruit, it flows onto the palate with a silky, polished texture, integrated acidity and dusty tannin that frames the finish. Still in need of another handful of years in the cellar, it will shine for 10-12 years. Drink now-2025.
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.
A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.
Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.
Gewürztraminer is an expressive and aromatically distinctive white grape variety. It is considered a noble variety in the Alsace region of France, and can produce beautiful wines in the mountainous Alto Adige region of north-eastern Italy. With the notable exception of the Anderson Valley, most regions of California are too warm for Gewürztraminer’s low potential acidity, but it has done particularly well in more northerly, cooler regions of North America such as British Columbia, Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, and New York's Finger Lakes.
In the Glass
Gewürztraminer is bold and highly aromatic, with intense flavors of lychee, rose petal, ginger, musk, exotic spice, smoke, pineapple, apricot kernel, and peach. Wines range from bone dry to quite sweet, and its naturally low acidity is offset by high levels of skin-derived phenolics, which in addition to aromatics provide weight and a good structural grip.
Gewürztraminer’s natural spiciness makes it a great ally for flavorful cuisine, such as Indian, Middle Eastern, or Moroccan fare. It is also excellent with dense, oily fish like salmon, swordfish, and mahi-mahi, and works well with a wide range of meats and charcuterie. Gewürztraminer truly shines with classic Alsatian dishes like choucroute, Quiche Lorraine, and anything egg-based.
Because of its floral perfume and tendency towards slight sweetness, Gewürztraminer makes for an excellent gateway wine. For those who have been introduced to wine through Moscato or other sweet wines, Gewürztraminer can serve as the perfect bridge towards an appreciation for dry whites.