2011 Andrew Will Champoux Vineyard

Hello friends. When the back-to-back frigid vintages of 2010 and 2011 arrived in Washington, there were only a handful of Washington vintners who had enough years of winemaking experience to have seen truly cool vintages before. That comfort level has been readily apparent tasting Chris Camarda’s wines over the past two years. It’s clear that he took what the vintages gave him and didn’t try to force over-ripeness on vintages that wanted to be anything but ripe. Instead, he has crafted sleek, elegant beauties, wines likely to have immortal aging curves.

Normally this is the time of year when we send our Champoux-themed offer for Andrew Will, including both Sorella and Champoux. Slight change this year, as the winery has decided to shift to a spring release for Sorella. Perhaps that’s for the best, as it allows us to give the Champoux bottling the attention it richly deserves:

The blend here is 54% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, from Champoux vines averaging 31 years of age. It sees about two years in barrel, all French, 35% new, and it begins with an honest Champoux nose, that unique combination of blackcurrant and graphite, with deep dark soil notes to boot. The palate shows off a terrific bridge wine between old- and new-world styles, with a real sense of earthiness and brightness. The structure here is outrageous: both vibrant acidity and a finish full of toothsome tannins, redolent of black tea and suggesting a long aging curve ahead. Anyone who has tasted Andrew Will wines from other cool vintages (1999 comes to mind) will know that a wine like this has an easy 20-year aging curve.

The 2011 Champoux already has a few positive reviews, including one from Sean Sullivan in Wine Enthusiast. We’re all getting used to moving from Sean’s old five-star review system for Washington Wine Report to a 100pt scale for Wine Enthusiast. As far as calibration goes, I think it’s safe to say that – when it comes to scores – Sean is going to be more like, say, Stephen Tanzer or Allen Meadows than, say, Jay Miller. In other words, we’re going to have to apply a Sullivan curve.

To wit, of the 452 Washington reviews Sean has published in his nascent Wine Enthusiast gig, only two wines have received stronger reviews than his 93pt review for this wine. Both of those have been 94s, one for Andrew Will’s 2011 Sorella (see you in the springtime!) and one for Maison Bleue’s 2011 La Montagnette Grenache. All that to say: Sean’s review below is a strong one indeed.

Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW WITHHELD]. 95pts.”

Please limit order requests to 24 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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