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Seven Hills Winery Ciel du Cheval Vintage Red 2011

Bordeaux Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE93
  • W&S93
  • WS92
  • RP91
14.1% ABV
  • WE92
  • WE91
  • RP90
  • WE93
  • WE95
  • WS90
  • WS92
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3.7 3 Ratings
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3.7 3 Ratings
14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Vintage 2011 started cool and continued ripening gradually to an extended harvest with dry conditions that allowed development of full fruit maturity. Small per acre yields gave the grapes great fruit concentrations and thick skins resulting in substantial tannins and gorgeous color. The aroma is of delicate red raspberry with notes of green tea and maple highlights, followed by a dense plum pudding, savory palate with points of red raspberry.

Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon 38 % Merlot 33%, Petit Verdot 15%, Cabernet Franc 14%

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
This Bordeaux-style, single-vineyard blend outshines others from the same iconic Red Mountain site that cost significantly more. Packed with concentrated cherry and cassis, it’s layered with well-integrated earth, rock, leaf and stem flavors, and finished with a hint of toast from 21 months in 40% new French oak.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
This Bordeaux-style blend starts out massive, as most wines sourced from Ciel do, but with a little air the wine unfolds elegantly, revealing mocha, Mexican chocolate and an earthiness that folds into the cassis core of cabernet with an effortless grace. It has plenty of power, plenty of brawn, and it needs time in the cellar to grow into itself. Then serve with steak. (525 cases)
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Sleek and vivid, with boysenberry and floral aromas and flavors on a juicy, lively frame. Has elegance without losing depth and intensity of flavor, finishing harmoniously. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Vintage Red Wine Ceil du Cheval Vineyard is a smoking blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 14% Cabernet Franc that spent 21 months in 40% new French oak. Medium to full-bodied, elegant, focused and with fabulous purity of fruit, it offers up loads of black raspberry, creme de cassis, crushed flowers, toast and graphite. Showing solid tannic structure under its fruit, it will benefit from short-term cellaring and have 10 to 12 years of overall longevity.
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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. It is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers. Though it is cooler and wetter than most of Washington State’s viticultural areas, irrigation from the Columbia River is still common, though some vineyards on the rainier eastern end of the AVA are able to dry farm.

The conditions in the Walla Walla Valley are perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of black olives, smoke, bacon fat, and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are produced in a range of styles from smooth and supple to tannic and structured. White varieties are a relative rarity here. Sauvignon Blanc is sometimes blended with Sémillon in the style of Bordeaux white blends, resulting in a richer, rounder version take on the variety. Plantings of Viognier are minimal, but often quite successful.

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/or 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 can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can 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, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

YNG777721_2011 Item# 130794