2008 Nota Bene Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Hello friends. We live in a nonsensical world.

How else can I explain a Cabernet-dominant blend from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard at today’s tariff:

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($35); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Jay Miller): “($35); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

Ciel du Cheval Vineyard is the queen of Red Mountain, a thrilling site growing out of the sandy soils of Red Mountain. Planted in 1975 by Jim Holmes at a time when the area had no roads, power, or water, this vineyard has a unique combination of climate and soil. The warm climate is the accelerator pedal, encouraging vigorous ripening, but the high-pH soils are the brakes, forcing the vines to struggle for nutrients. The result is healthy, hardy vines and small berries that produce complex, concentrated powerhouses. The uniqueness of the terroir has led many of Washington’s top wineries to seek out Ciel du Cheval fruit: Andrew Will, Cadence, Grand Reve/Force Majeure, and Quilceda Creek, to name a few.

Tim Narby was, at one point, the Grape Procurement Officer for the Boeing Employee’s Wine and Beermaking Club (what a job, eh?!?). That position opened up access to incredible vineyards, and Tim took those contacts with him when he launched Nota Bene in 2001, including Ciel du Cheval, where he has made a Bordeaux blend ever since.

He clearly has a comfort level with the vineyard at this point, and it shows in the beautiful Red Mountain aromatics: pluot fruit, dusted with cocoa powder and orange peel. There is incredible intensity on the palate, and while Ciel is frequently known for its elegance and finesse, this is a powerhouse. The flavors really pop: red cherry, peach, and plum swirling around a dense core of hewn rock. A fine rendition of Ciel from a strong vintage, this punches well above its price class.

First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: