Long hours of sunlight, warm days, and cool nights; Eastern Washington has the perfect climate for wine. And Walla Walla sits at a latitude that is just two degrees further North than Bordeaux, France - home to the World’s most renowned Cabernet and Merlot wines. Washington Merlot has structure and backbone that surprises most wine enthusiasts who often say "I don't like Merlot".
The Birch Creek Merlot was first to come in and provides the backbone and structure in addition to bold, blackberry notes. Minnick Hills sits at a higher elevation and with well-drained soils and great canopy for sun-protection, we allow the fruit to hang for longer and ripen to perfection. Merlot is extremely well suited for WA state, it is an early ripener that loves the sun and will get big, smooth tannins and loads of dark and red berry flavors. It might ripen at the same time as the Chardonnay and is typically the first of our red grapes to be ready for harvest.
The 2014 growing season began with budbreak and flowering ten days to two weeks earlier than average. An early, warm spring, and near record-breaking heat in July and early August were followed by the usual cooler weather in September which provided a much-needed reprieve.
We blended Merlot from two Walla Walla Valley vineyards for the 2014 vintage: 75% Birch Creek and 25% Minnick Hills. We aged the wines in separate lots for 18 months and then determined the final blend based on the profile we were after: balanced fruit-acid ratio and great structure. We used 25% new American oak and 75% neutral oak.
Balanced acid-to-fruit tannin ratio, mouth-coating, delicious.
NOSE: plum, dried rose petals
MOUTH: pomegranate, plum, rose hips, baking chocolate
FOOD & WINE PAIRING: lamb stew, shepherd’s pie