2003 Vintage Red Blends Released
Champoux, Ciel du Cheval, Sheridan, Two Blondes
September 13, 2005
Chris Camarda has just released his Andrew Will 2003 vintage red wines. As you know, Chris has shifted his selection of wines. He no longer makes wines from single varietals, but makes wines that are blends of grapes from one vineyard. He strives to make the best possible expression of the vineyard, and has worked with the top vineyards in Washington for many years to perfect his product.
The 2003 vintage in Washington was exceptional. A smaller quantity of fruit on the vines made each cluster more flavorful and rich than in years with greater yields. The flavors are focused and intense, and a long hang time at the beginning of the fall allowed the grapes to ripen a bit more slowly than usual, adding to the complexity of the fruit.
The 2003 vintage was one of the warmest vintages in the last 10 years in
the Northwest, with hot weather lasting throughout the entire summer and into September and
early October. The last two weeks of October finally brought cold weather with
evening temperatures dropping into the high teens. By the time cool weather came, the grapes had reached physiological ripeness and maturity. The 2003 wines tasted so far from Washington are ripe, with Cab and Merlot especially interesting. The wines, for all that the summer was so hot, have reasonable acidity and show firm tannins that will allow good cellaring.
Andrew Will Champoux Vineyard Red Wine 03 $47.66/$52.95
Champoux Vineyard is near Patterson, WA. The old vines of this vineyard were planted in 1972. The cool breeze from the Columbia River Gorge keeps the vineyard cool, allowing the grapes to ripen more slowly. This leads to greater complexity and bigger, more muscular wines. The 2003 Champoux is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, and Merlot. The wine is succulent, with rapidly changing aromatics and flavors, vibrant, lively.
This wine is usually the big winner in the ratings, year after year. Wine Advocate gave the 2002 vintage a rating of 93 points, and said : "Red licorice, plums and dark cherries are found in the aromatic profile of the 2002 Champoux Vineyard. A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot, it is medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and deep. Its complex, intense, and powerful core reveals flavors of blackberries, cassis, licorice, and road tar. Loaded with tannin, this structured effort also displays a long, highly expressive finish."
"This winery, named after Chris and Annie Camarda’s nephew, Andrew, as well as son, Will, used to produce a bevy of Merlots and Cabernets from contracted vineyards. Recently, however, it has evolved towards the production of Bordeaux-style blends that reflect Chris’s perception of each vineyard’s terroir. Klipsun Vineyard, located in the Red Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area), remains the exception to Camarda’s newly found “meritage” philosophy." -Pierre Rovani, September, 2004.
Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Red Wine 03
Wine Advocate 94 points for previous vintage. A blend of red varietals from the famed Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, crafted by Chris to show off the unique terroir of the vineyard. The blend is 42% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot.
As Chris Camarda has developed his style of winemaking over the years, he has focused on the primacy of the vineyard over variety. It is now the driving force behind Andrew Will. While the idea of terroir has become almost a hollow marketing tool, it has great attraction for Chris in its purest form. “I believe that an individual piece of property can form a signature - an identity - and it is that face that is the focus of my winemaking, “ “We are trying to let the vineyards reveal themselves. I believe that if Washington is ever to be considered a great wine region we need to establish the characteristics of our geographical areas and the characteristics of each vineyard in those areas.”
Andrew Will Sheridan Vineyard Red Wine 03 $47.66/$52.95
Chris Camarda's own Estate "Two Blondes" Vineyard is next door to this fine vineyard. For the 2003 vintage, Chris uses 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc to create a red blend, his representation of the terroir of Sheridan Vineyard.
While Sheridan is a relatively new vineyard, the wines that have come out of it have shown character and complexity such that pundits write of Sheridan becoming one of Washington's most well known vineyards.
Andrew Will Two Blondes Vineyard Red Blend 03 $44.95/$49.95
An exciting development- Chris Camarda, whose Andrew Will Winery is only one of five wineries called "Excellent" by Robert Parker in his most recent book, has purchased, planted, and is now harvesting his own Estate Vineyard. The site is right next to Sheridan Vineyard, on the high side of Zillah's many vineyards, and Chris really pulled out all the stops when he started developing the land. He's used satellite imagery, biodynamics, and lots of TLC to bring his first crops off, and the wines show exceptional promise.
The 2003, the second vintage off Chris's own Estate vineyard, 66% Cabernet Sauvignon,
34% Cabernet Franc. Very low yields and cool, slow ripening fruit make for
complexity and rich, layered flavors . Avalon is planning to send each vintage of the Two Blondes red Blend to our "Big Reds Club" members, starting with the 2002 in September, 2005.
Andrew Will Two Blondes Vineyard Red Blend 02 $44.95/$49.95
According to Chris, "It's named after a friend, who owns 25 percent, and my wife, who is blond. I thought about different names, and somebody came up with this one."
Chris Camarda, owner and winemaker for Andrew Will Winery, purchased the 36 acres of land for his estate Two Blondes Vineyard after discovering the high quality grapes of nearby Sheridan Vineyard. Located in Zillah, the vineyard has absorbed much of Chris's focus over the last few years. An initial planting largely failed from cold weather. Replanting with the use of sophisticated satellite imaging and sensor data, the vineyard produced a first, small crop in 2002.
The 2002 is the first vintage off this new vineyard, and shows Chris's exceptional winemaking skills. It's truly amazing that this wine shows so much focused intensity and seamless, complex flavors. A September Avalon "Big Reds" Club selection.
Andrew Will Klipsun Vineyard Red Blend 03 $47.66/$52.95
East of Ciel de Cheval Vineyard, relatively old vines,but not as old as Ciel du Cheval, similarly cool site that creates big, muscular wines. The blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot.
If you'd like to read more about Andrew Will Winery, here's the main page of information about Chris and the winery:
We've not been able to get sample bottles yet, so there's no Avalon tasting notes. As soon as we get them we'll write the notes and post them on the site. Chris has not yet written notes, so we can't post those either. Hate it when we can't give you complete info, but the wines are so limited, and Chris's wines are so popular, that we thought we'd better get the info out to you and give you a chance to order.
Thanks so much for your orders - and your ideas- our customers always give us the best ones!
Hope you are all well, and our warmest good thoughts go out to our customers on the Gulf Coast. May you all be well.
Jean, Marcus, Chris, Kevin, and Wendy
201 SW 2nd Street
Corvallis OR 97333
(working his tail off right now, with weather cooling down
and all those cellared orders going out)