Côtes de Ciel 2013 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Counoise, Red Mountain, $23
Red Mountain pioneering vigneron Jim Holmes and his winemaking son Richard launched their Côtes de Ciel brand with the 2012 vintage. This effort with Counoise is the first vintage for their label with this grape they planted in 2000, thanks to cutting from Tablas Creek Nursery in Paso Robles. Its time in 22 months in neutral oak leads to aromas of cherries, blueberry and chocolate-covered marshmallow with a whiff of campfire smoke and anise. Inside, it carries a muscular stature expected from Red Mountain reds that envelopes flavors of blackberry, dried cherry and pomegranate. The finish of bittersweet chocolate, vanilla extract and currant seals the deal for its balance and length. This won a gold medal at the 2016 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.
Production: 92 cases