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Corliss Red 2011

Bordeaux Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • V94
  • RP92
0% ABV
  • RP94
  • WE93
  • RP94
  • WE92
  • RP91
  • WE94
  • RP94
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

A deeply layered nose offering strikingly delineated aromas of blackberry, dried redcurrant and cassis, with lifted herbaceous notes of mint, bay leaf and thyme. The wine is powerfully textured on entry, showing an array of wild, dark berry fruits, and deep underlying flavors of sage, cured meats and blackened earth. Sweet, sappy tannins meld with a firm, graphite-like minerality to provide excellent length and a wonderfully youthful energy that promises long-term aging potential.

Critical Acclaim

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V 94
Vinous
Aromas of cassis, blueberry and licorice are lifted by exotic spices. Outstanding energy leavens the sexy sweetness of this sappy, firmly structured midweight, with intense dark fruit flavors lifted by a violet element. Taut and backward like a topnotch young claret, showing a youthfully tight grain. Finishes long and energetic, with firm but sweet tannins and strong graphite minerality. Clearly the finest vintage to date for this bottling, which will not be released until the fall of 2016 and should evolve positively through the 2020s.
Rating: 94+
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Columbia Valley Red Wine, like the Cabernet Sauvignon, has a serious kick of oak, but manages to hold it together and has just enough fruit to balance things out. Giving up lots of black raspberry, toasted bread, licorice, sweet oak and crushed flower, it’s full-bodied, nicely concentrated on the palate and beautifully textured. Made from mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc, aged 28 months in new and used French oak, give it a year or two in bottle and drink it through 2026.
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Corliss

Corliss

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Corliss, Columbia Valley, Washington
There is a saying that, "one makes a thousand decisions from vine to bottle." At Corliss, we exercise the discipline to make the highest quality decisions at each stage. From sustainable, meticulous viticulture in our four Estate Vineyards, to individual berry sorting at harvest, to slow native yeast fermentations in micro-scale custom oak fermenters. We follow this with extended elevage of two and one half years in barrel, rigorous selection of the best lots for blending, and over two years of additional aging in bottle before the wines are finally labeled and available for enjoyment.

Our winemaking is the result of teamwork and patience. Michael Corliss has, from the beginning, been at the center. He is engrossed in every detail and has guided our winemaking philosophy. He is our barometer of consistency for developing the Corliss style. Surrounding Michael is a talented staff of winemaking professionals including our on-site winemaking team of Andrew Trio and Griffin Frey (who bring experience and perspective from Napa, Europe, and Australia) as well as Philippe Melka, one of the world's most highly regarded winemaking consultants. Together, we strive to achieve the highest actualization of Michael's vision that this collection of talent enables.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing 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 even extends into northern Oregon!

Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. 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 entire 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. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.

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.

YNG180179_2011 Item# 166955