2011 Seven Hills "Ciel du Cheval" Red Mountain Bordeaux Blend (Elsewhere $41)

SKU #1308301 93 points 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.  (10/2014)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* 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.  (7/2014)

92 points 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. Drink now through 2020. 525 cases made.  (8/2014)

91 points 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. Made by Casey McClellan, these are superb, classically styled wines that are more than reasonable priced. (JD)  (6/2014)

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Price: $34.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.