Andrew Will Cellars 2005 Annie Camarda syrah

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on May 5, 2010:

A Syracuse-area man became the latest inspiration to Cheech and Chong’s famous song after winning $3200 at a casino then returning home, only to have his home catch fire an hour later. Among the contents burned was his loaded wallet. Down in hand, “Up In Smoke.” Miley Vyrus has a new music video out, if you call that music, where she’s in, uh, more provocative positions. While her supporters say she’s trying to promote her non-Hackup Montana image, we just have to remember a few things: (1) she’s still ugly and 17; (2) she still has a William Hung in her throat (no, not Liam…wrong, wrong wrong!); and (3) she made less money in one day than some 23 year-old game nerd that “threw” a perfect (video) game on “MLB 2K10”. Anyway, don’t watch the video, it’s kinda disturbing. And that brings up another point…when do young brats stop emulating adults and when do adults start acting like much younger folks? The latter half of that question comes from a London lingerie store reporting that “cougars” have been giving the lingerie industry a, uh, “big boost”. Yeah, I really wanna see a wrinkly woman with a Les Schwab midsection covered in drapes. Yummo!

Andrew Will Cellars was founded in 1989 by Chris Camarda, who previously managed restaurants in Seattle for almost 20 years. The winery is named after Chris’s nephew (Andrew) and his son (Will). In 1994, Chris moved his operations from a 900 sq. ft. rented industrial lot to Vashon Island, where he has two buildings to produce about 4300 cases/year, along with a Korean guardian pole called a changsung. Chris also owns about 36 vineyard acres (Two Blondes), located in Zillah and next to Sheridan Vineyards. Two Blondes is famous for growing not just grapes, but also an airplane (see pic).

Chris’s wines are styled more by vineyard than by varietal. His cabs and merlots were temporarily discontinued with the 2001 vintage, but were recently revived with the 2008 vintage (and black labels). The heart of his lineup is wines that are vineyard-designated, which have included: Mercer Estates, Klipsun, Sheridan, Seven Hills, and Pepper Bridge, but are now limited to Ciel du Cheval, Two Blondes, Discovery, and the vineyard that likely inspired this style—Champoux.

Chris has gained much notoriety for his winemaking skills. He was named “one of America’s finest producers of merlot” and his winery listed as one of only four “outstanding” Washington wineries, the others being Quilceda Creek, Leonetti Cellar, and DeLille Cellars.

Unfortunately, Chris had to deal with major life events with the passing of his sister in 1995 and his wife, Annie, in 2005, both succumbing to cancer. He has named his syrah after Annie, from the first vintage in 2002, and his flagship ‘Sorella’ for his sister. He has two adopted children of Korean heritage, Will (22) and Luci (19).

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Andrew Will is Chris’s willingness to change his lineup. He has recently vinted a semillon, pinot gris, semillon/sauvignon blanc and “secret” wines for a couple of BTGs (Blind Tasting Groups).

What I find most humorous about Chris is how he was asked to “create” a fraud 1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild by a wine writer, of which he used his 1995 Sorella to fill the Mouton bottle for a party. A truly great wine story and a valuable lesson.

Tonight’s appetizer pairings included: Beecher’s Flagship cheese, whole dried blueberries, Table crackers and a drop-your-drawers hunk of Theo Chocolates’ Fig Fennel and Almond Dark Chocolate (70% cacao). Blinding.

Deep garnet-colored, thick aromas of blackberries, blueberries, black cherries, and oaky smoke portend a loaded Winchester full of black fruits, white pepper, anise, and eucalyptus, slightly elevated with a bed of vapor.

Alcohol: 14.6%. Columbia Valley AVA. Vineyards: Ciel du Cheval and Champoux. Music pairing: “Blinded By The Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (did you know?: song was originally written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen on his 1973 album “Greetings from Asbury Park”). Washington State on the front label. Dark stained cork. Rated: 91.Value: $30. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

Purchased at deVine Wines for $50.

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