2009 Seven Hills Winery Ciel du Cheval Vnyd (BDX Blend)

Hello friends. Well this is a happy holiday surprise. I recently caught wind of a parcel of what I thought to be a long-since sold out wine.

Rather than spend any time dissecting how this parcel appeared on the scene, I acted impulsively and bought the entire stash. So we have all of the bottles remaining in western Washington, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good (looks like the winery is onto the 2010 vintage too, so this might be gone everywhere).

I jumped on this one quickly for a few reasons. First, because I tasted it during my visit to Walla Walla in August and thought it was a standout (even then, my understanding was that the wine was sold out in 750s, and at the time, we were discussing a magnum offering). And second, because of all the red wines Paul Gregutt scored 95pts and higher in 2012, this is the only one under $40, a remarkable value.

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($38); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”

Seven Hills winery has become a Full Pull list favorite, based in large part I think on Casey McClellan’s clear, dedicated house style: acid-driven, texturally elegant, long-lived. Casey deserves admiration for sticking with that style as fashion trends have waxed and waned. In the early 2000s, he held steady as trends towards alcohol and oak ruled the day. Casey is a grower’s winemaker, well-loved by vineyard owners and vineyard managers, because he picks fruit early and is single-mindedly dedicated to expressing the terroir of their sites.

One of his long-term relationships is with Ryan Johnson of Ciel du Cheval, the grand dame of Red Mountain (Ciel is the grand dame, not Ryan; let me make that clear), and Casey is granted access to some of the oldest, 1970s-planted fruit in the vineyard. So what happens when you combine a vineyard and winemaker known for elegance with a vintage known for fleshy exuberance? The answer: you get something balanced, breathtaking, beautiful. It’s a big, structured mouthful of Red Mountain: silty minerals, orange peel, cocoa powder, dust, marzipan. The ripe, delicious, green-tea tannins suggest a long-life ahead, but still, this is one of the most approachable-in-its-youth bottles I have ever tasted from Casey. No need to cellar this if you don’t want to; it brings plenty of immediate gratification.

As I mentioned, we have all of the remaining bottles of this vintage, and they’re in the warehouse already. Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is here and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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