2012 Flagship Reserve Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain

Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain

The process of determining if we can produce a reserve wine starts with a review of each individual barrel of wine we produce. If we find a combination of barrels that stands out from the rest, we consider creating a reserve wine. Of the 53 barrels of wine we produced for the 2012 vintage, we found 12 that were unique, distinctive and stood above the rest of the wines. From these twelve barrels we produced two separate reserve wines. The first is the Flagship Reserve. A blend of three different Bordeaux grape varieties -- Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (33%) and Cabernet Franc (17%).

All of the barrels of wine included in the final blend where fermented in roller barrels.  A roller barrel is a traditional oak barrel only slightly larger that has been fitted with special ports to allow for the filling of the barrel with crushed grapes and the removal of pomace when fermentation is completed. The barrels are then mounted on special racks, so that they can easily be spun by hand a couple of times a day during fermentation.  This process creates a wine with great mouthfeel. The normally supple tannins found in grapes from Ciel du Cheval are further refined to create a wine with a full and round feeling in the mouth while preserving the intense fruit flavors. Following fermentation the wine was moved to 100% new French oak and aged for 22 months.  The barrel selection varied with each lot, giving a complex series of flavors from the barrels that match the intensity of the fruit flavors from the grapes.


A big and intense blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine was fermented in roller barrels to give it a round and full mouth-feel. It was aged for 22 months in six different new French Oak barrels to give a complex series of oak flavors that balance the intense fruit flavors. 144 Cases Produced. 91 pts, Wine Enthusiast.  Learn more ...

Download Wine Notes
Varietal50% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17%, Cabernet Franc
AppellationRed Mountain
VineyardCiel du Ceval
Aging100% New French Oak
Fermentation100% Oak Roller Barrel
Wine StyleRed Wine
Volume750 ml

90 points, Stephen Tanzer, December 2014

(15.4% alcohol; a blend of 50% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Cabernet Franc): Full medium red. Aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, mocha and milk chocolate are lifted by sexy oak spices and a floral element. Supple, pliant and accessible, showing a saline quality to the red berry, spice and mocha flavors. Doesn’t show quite the dimension or depth of the Petit Verdot but this wine offers more early appeal. Finishes broad, with dusty tannins and very good length.

91 points, Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast.

The blend is 50% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Cabernet Franc, aged in 100% new French oak. The only wine from this producer that is a blend, it currently shows an abundance of barrel flavors. The baking spices overpower some of the signature elements that this distinguished vineyard imparts—the mineral, saline, iron and steel notes often found in Ciel’s red wines.

 — P.G.  (12/31/2014)



2012 Production Team

A grower owned winery, Côtes de Ciel was founded in 2012 by the Holmes family of Ciel du Cheval Vineyards. At Côtes de Ciel, we believe that all wine starts its journey in the vineyard and moves through the winery. Throughout this process, many people make a significant contribution and impact on the wine. Below are a few of the key people that impacted the 2012 vintage.

Richard Holmes Winemaker
Ryan Johnson Vineyard Manger
Sadie Drury Assistant Vineyard Manager
Jim and Pat Holmes   Grapegrower
Charlies Hoppes Consultant - Winemaking
Mitch Venohr Consultant - WInemaking
Hilary Sojlund Consultant - Enology

2012 Flagship Reserve Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain
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