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Seven Hills Winery Ciel du Cheval Vintage Red 2009

Bordeaux Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE95
  • WS90
14.2% ABV
  • WE92
  • WE91
  • RP90
  • WE93
  • W&S93
  • WE93
  • WS92
  • RP91
  • WS92
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14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This 2009 vintage showcases fruit character and ripeness, while tannin and acidity takes a backseat in contrast to 2008. Merlot from the 1976 block predominates in this vintages blend by a small amount, lending an overall softer more fruit driven approach than 2008. The Petit Verdot percentage is relatively high, accentuating the rose petal, blackberry and coffee bean notes.

As for previous vintages, this bottling delivers that complex interplay of ripe red and black fruits, savory and floral character, and a well matched structure-fruit balance. Very lengthy, layered finish. Expect a solid 6-8 years of development in the cellar, and possibly longer.

Blend: 39% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
Roses, blackberries, cassis and baking spices are beautifully rendered in a wine rich in depth and detail. More bottle age will surely bring still more complexity and soften some astringent tannins.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
This red is firm in texture and expressive, delivering ripe blackberry and currant fruit tweaked with hints of bay leaf, black olive and toast. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2019.
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Seven Hills Winery

Seven Hills Winery

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Seven Hills Winery, Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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The McClellan family has farmed in Eastern Washington since 1880. One hundred years later, in 1980, Casey McClellan and his father Jim began planting the now famous Seven Hills Vineyard at the south end of the Walla Walla Valley. After then earning his Master’s degree in Enology from UC Davis, Casey returned to Walla Walla with his wife Vicky to found Seven Hills Winery, the fifth winery in the Walla Walla Valley, in 1988. Casey remains Seven Hills’ sole winemaker to this day.

Seven Hills Vineyard is now regarded as one of the “ten most important vineyards in the world” by Wine & Spirits Magazine. In addition to Seven Hills Vineyard, Casey crafts wines from several of the best, old vine vineyards in Walla Walla and on Red Mountain, including Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, and McClellan Estate.

Casey’ focus has always been on Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietal reds, complemented by limited production of Alsatian varietal white wines. His vision is to produce wines that reflect the terroir of these sites with intense structure and pure varietal fruit character capable of graceful ageing.

Walla Walla Valley

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Responsible for some of Washington’s most highly acclaimed wines, the Walla Walla Valley has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years and is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers.

The Walla Walla Valley, a Native American name meaning “many waters,” is located in southeastern Washington; part of the appellation actually extends into Oregon. Soils here are well-drained, sandy loess over Missoula Flood deposits and fractured basalt.

It is a region perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of red berry, black olive, smoke and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot create a range of styles from smooth and supple to robust and well-structured. White varieties are rare but some producers blend Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon, resulting in a rich and round style, and plantings of Viognier, while minimal, are often quite successful.

Of note within Walla Walla, is one new and very peculiar appellation, called the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. This is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries are totally defined by the soil type. Soils here look a bit like those in the acclaimed Rhône region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but are large, ancient, basalt cobblestones. These stones work in the same way as they do in Chateauneuf, absorbing and then radiating the sun's heat up to enhance the ripening of grape clusters. The Rocks District is within the part of Walla Walla that spills over into Oregon and naturally excels in the production of Rhône varieties like Syrah, as well as the Bordeaux varieties.

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.

NWWSH09CL_2009 Item# 118305