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DeLille Chaleur Estate Red 2008

Bordeaux Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP93
  • WE92
14.1% ABV
  • RP95
  • WE92
  • RP95
  • WS92
  • RP94
  • WE93
  • RP90
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14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2008 Chaleur Estate Red has a restrained nose of black cherry, plum, graphite, vanilla, fresh sage, thyme and white pepper. The palate is complete from front to back, boasting the high pedigree of its venerable vineyard sources along with the balance of the 2008 vintage. In the mouth, the black cherry and plum carry through from the nose augmented with rich notes of vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder. This vintage shows the elegant side of Chaleur Estate and it's stunning, for sure. As usual, cellaring will improve this wine for years to come, though it can be hard to resist drinking now.

Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Chaleur Estate Red is made up of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, with the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot predominantly from Red Mountain vineyards. A restrained nose of balsam wood, pencil lead, thyme, sage, black currant, and blackberry leads to a round, rich, succulent offering that has the balance and structure to achieve its 20th birthday in peak form. As good as the wine is, if the nose becomes more expressive with time in the bottle, my score will appear to be stingy.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Sharp and wound up tight, with a laser focus, this excellent young wine pinpoints raspberry, cherry and red plum fruit flavors, with good penetration and length. The fruit is backed with substantial oak and firm, fine tannins. The alcohol has come down a bit, though there is still a hint of burn and whiskey barrel in the finish.
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DeLille

DeLille Cellars

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DeLille Cellars, Columbia Valley, Washington
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DeLille Cellars is a boutique artisan winery located in Woodinville, Washington. Founded in 1992 by Charles and Greg Lill, Jay Soloff, and winemaker Chris Upchurch, DeLille Cellars pioneered Bordeaux-style blends in Washington State (both red and white) - inspiring Robert Parker, in a visit to the original Chateau in Woodinville, to proclaim DeLille Cellars “the Lafite Rothschild of Washington State.”

DeLille Cellars is considered a principal influence in establishing Washington as a premier viticultural region with a strong tradition of quality and excellence over its 25-year history. Today, the winery has a portfolio of over a dozen Bordeaux and Rhône style blends true to the terroir of Washington State.  

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.

SWS308080_2008 Item# 120695