I often struggle with the wines from Washington State. Too often, I find them to come across as big, over the top fruit bombs with many unsuitable for long-term aging. However, there are some exceptions and the wines of Andrew Will are one of those exceptions. This Ciel du Cheval bottling has been cellared away since release and happens to be the last in an original purchase of 6. Ciel du Cheval was originally planted in 1975 and now comprises of over 100 acres of vines with an average age over 36 years. I’ve long admired the quality that comes from this vineyard. The 2008 version of this wine was nearly equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with just the touch more Merlot than the other two. From the start, this was buzzing with dark fruits, sweet tobacco, baking spices and leather. The texture is so ever so velvety soft. The tannins are super fine and we’ll integrated at this point. A wine of impeccable balance that has delivered the goods for several years now and I suspect, will continue to do so for many years to come. That being said, I am happy to have consumed my last bottle at this stage in its evolution. It’s clearly firing on all cylinders now. — 2 days ago
Had this 6 mos ago at Tasting, liked it, bought several bottles for cellar. Blend of Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot & Malbec, made by 30 year Chappellet winemaker Phillip Titus. Deep Ruby, purple edges, youthful aromas of black fruit, spices and flinty notes. On the palate flavors of blackberry and black cherry with some vanilla and tobacco and herbal floral notes. Vivid acidity & firm tight tannins with long finish ending with a youthful character, aging well should benefit from bottle aging. — 10 days ago
Worked up a lockdown sweat wrestling with this one. Day one it was like trying to raise a teenager from bed on Sunday morning in the middle of a pandemic. Needed four hours in the decanter before finally revealing a nose and some flavour on the palate. When i left it later in the evening, some really nice complexity coming through with blackberry, cassis, green peppers and wood but not necessarily oak. Tannins are fine but a little drying in the first glass or two. This is a Bordeaux style Napa Cabernet, much more subdued and savoury than many of its neighbours. Day two this is really good, finally forgiven me for waking it up before 2030 and offering soft, dark fruit with, vanilla, chocolate and cherry flavours . Nice long finish with some sweetness creeping in.
This is a complex wine, deep colour and character and it needs time. Well worth the effort and it goes without saying this will age for many years before reaching its peak. Fine sediment, needs filtering. — 5 days ago
Let this blow off for an hour and it blossomed. It’s interesting that this has some Petite Verdot, but not Cab Franc. I’d have guessed the opposite. Also, not as much tertiary as I’d have expected. This is lovely and plush, hardly an edge. The nose is white pepper, new leather, earth, and cherry. On the palate is strawberry, stewed plums, cherry, and finishes with a pinch of caramel tannins. It’s a thing! — 11 days ago