Andrew Will Winery's Washington Wonders

One of the longtime stars of Washington State winemaking is Chris Camarda of Andrew Will Winery

Jay Miller, who covers Washington State for my journal, The Wine Advocate, has been the man on point for one of the most exciting viticultural developments of the last decade, the increasingly sensational quality of wines from Washington State. They have made noteworthy progress, not only with such Bordeaux varietals as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, and cabernet franc, but also with Rhône Ranger varietals such as grenache and syrah. One longtime star (located on the pastoral Vashon Island) is Chris Camarda, who turns out brilliant wines at the Andrew Will Winery (named for his son Will and nephew Andrew), which he founded in 1989. Following are some of Andrew Will's recent releases.

90 points 2004 Syrah Annie Camarda Washington State

This cuvée is exceptionally fragrant, with aromas of bacon, blueberry, and violets jumping from the glass. On the palate, ample sweet fruit asserts itself leading to a long, pure finish. Although it can be enjoyed now, two to three years in the cellar should lead to greater aromatic complexity and a smoother texture. $45

91 points 2005 Syrah Annie Camarda Washington State

The 2005 Syrah Annie Camarda delivers an alluring perfume of meat, game, bacon, blueberry, and violets. Layered, ripe, and creamy-textured, this hedonistic effort should evolve for three to four years and drink well through 2020. $45

91 points 2006 Two Blondes Yakima Valley

This offering is from a young vineyard whose fruit should offer greater depth and complexity as it ages. Deep crimson-colored, the wine offers up toasty black fruit aromas leading to a ripe, focused mid-palate, smooth tannins, excellent balance, and a lengthy finish. It should evolve for several years and be at its best from 2011 to 2021. $54

92 points 2006 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain

From the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area known for its tannic, age-worthy fruit, this purple-colored 2006 exhibits a fragrant perfume of cedar, smoke, black currant, and blackberry liqueur. The wine itself is medium- to full-bodied, with outstanding depth and grip, mouth-coating flavors, and a lengthy finish. The well-concealed tannins suggest that it will evolve for four to six years and drink well through 2026. $64

92 points 2005 Sheridan Vineyard Yakima Valley

Composed of 42% cabernet sauvignon, 30% cabernet franc, and 28% merlot, this purple-colored effort offers up an array of spices including clove, cinnamon, and allspice as well as cedar and tobacco notes. Saint-Emilion-like on the palate, it hides enough tannin to support two to three years of further bottle age. There is enough depth and balance to suggest that this rather elegant wine will drink well through 2025. $50

92 points 2005 Two Blondes Yakima Valley

The 2005 Two Blondes is a blend of 36% cabernet franc, 35% cabernet sauvignon, and 29% merlot. Revealing expressive red and black fruit aromas, spice box, and smooth-textured, sweet fruit, it is a lengthy, elegant effort to enjoy between 2012 to 2025. $54

93 points 2006 Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills

This purple-colored wine offers an impressive display of smoky black fruits, pencil lead, and earth notes. On the palate, it is intense, rich, and layered with the structure and balance for a decade of evolution. This powerful effort should drink well from 2015 to 2030. $64

93 points 2005 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain

The 2005 Ciel du Cheval is composed of 40% merlot, 40% cabernet franc, 14% cabernet sauvignon, and 6% petit verdot. It offers up darker black fruit aromas and flavors with significantly more structure, grip, and power than the 2006. It exhibits layers of spicy black fruits that should become increasingly opulent and glossy as it develops in the bottle. Give it a minimum of five to seven years in the cellar and drink it through 2030. $60

94 points 2005 Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills

The 2005 Champoux Vineyard is made up of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 20% cabernet franc, and 5% petit verdot. Purple-colored, it delivers an alluring perfume of pain grillé, spice box, and violets. On the palate, it is layered, intense, and powerful. Its impeccable balance should allow it to evolve for up to a decade and drink well through 2030. $60

94 points 2006 Sorella Horse Heaven Hills

Produced from Block One of the Champoux Vineyard, this is the winery's flagship offering. Saturated purple in color, the perfume is a complex amalgam of pain grillé, scorched earth, espresso, black currant, blackberry, and licorice. This leads to a supple-textured wine with layers of ripe fruit, outstanding depth and concentration, considerable elegance, and a long, pure finish. It will evolve for eight to 10 years and provide pleasure through 2030. $74

96 points 2005 Sorella Horse Heaven Hills

The 2005 Sorella, from the richest portion of the Champoux Vineyard, is a brooding, dense, and masculine wine displaying layers of rich fruit, a mouth-coating palate feel, and exceptional length. It should develop nicely in the cellar and provide peak drinking from 2015 to 2035. $66

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