2013 Counoise Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain


If you haven't had a Counoise, you've missed out on one of the most delicious wine experiences you can have. Counoise is a dark skinned grape that grows primarily in the south end of the Rhone valley where it is known for its peppery/spicy nature and its high acidity. There, Counoise labors in relative anonymity. Yet, it is one of the thirteen grape varieties allowed in Châteauneuf du Pape and is a key component in many of the more notable Chateau's blends.

Tablas Creek in California, first brought Counoise plants to North America in 1990. Using plants sourced from Tablas Creek, Ciel du Cheval planted its current block of Counoise in 2000. It was thought that Counoise would be used as a blending component and combined with Ciel’s other Rhone varietals (Syrah, Mourvédre and Grenache). However, once in the winery, winemakers took notice of it. It was fresh, delicious with great mouthfeel and bright acidity. Over time it use as a blending component has declined. Most of it is now bottled as varietal Counoise.

The 2013 Vintage is the only time Cotes de Ciel had made Counoise. We will make it again in 2016.


Ruby Red in color with Black undertones. Aromas of black cherries, earthy notes and just a hint pepper. The mouth reinforces the black cherry theme, but in a subtler way than expected. Berries and even the slightest hint of stone fruits join the mid-palate with subtle hints of cocoa on the finish.  The tannins are soft, yet the wine fills the mouth. Well balanced, with a long finish. 92 Cases.  Learn more ...

Varietal100% Counoise
AppellationRed Mountain
VineyardCiel du Ceval
Acid5.3 g/l
Aging22 months in Neutral Oak
FermentationOpen Top Fermenter
Wine StyleRed Wine
Volume750 ml

Great Northwest Wine
December 2016

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


2013 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 2013 vintage.

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

2013 Counoise Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain
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