2012 Merlot Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain


Three separate clones of merlot were combined to create a wine of great complexity. The dominant clone (close to 50%) was originally grown on the famed Inglenook vineyard in Napa California. The other two clones ENTAV-INRA 348 and ENTA-INRA 181 are European in origin. Combined the three clones produce a fruit forward wine with complex flavors and intense but supple tannins. The wine was  aged for 22 months in a 50/50 mix of new French Oak barrels and neutral wood barrels, resulting in additional notes from the oak that balance and compliment the intense fruit.


An alluring nose of berries and dark fruits is followed with mouthfilling cherries, spices and strong notes of cocoa.  The pallet is rich with dense but supple tannins and is followed by a lingering finish.  A great choice to drink now or let age for a few years. 343 Cases Produced. 92 pts Wine Enthusiast. Normally $39.00/Bottle. Now On Sale! Learn more ...

Varietal100% Merlot
Varietal Composition58 % Merlot FPS 03
21% ENTAV/INRA Merlot 181
21% ENTAV/INRA Merlot 348
AppellationRed Mountain
VineyardCiel du Ceval
Acid.54 g/l
Aging22 months in 50% New French Oak and 50% Neutral Oak
Fermentation100% Open Top Fermenter
Wine StyleRed Wine
Volume750 ml

92 points, Wine Enthusiast
By Paul Gregutt (12/31/2014)

Though the alcohol is on the high side, this vineyard ripens the fruit well enough to sustain varietal character without the veil of heavy new oak. Here it’s 50% neutral, 50% new, yielding rich strawberry and cherry flavors with a stiff, mineral streak.

 — P.G.  (12/31/2014)

91 points, Vinous
By Stephen Tanzer

Bright, full red. Dark cherry, cocoa powder, milk chocolate, brown spices and sexy oak on the nose, plus a whiff of tobacco. Supple and juicy on entry, then pliant and seamless in the mid-palate, with sweet red fruit, milk chocolate and nutty oak flavors nicely framed by ripe acidity. Finishes with broad, dusty tannins and very good length. This is nicely balanced from the outset, in spite of the high alcohol.


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 Merlot Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain
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