White Sands Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington State
Cellar Craft Showcase Collection
Bottled September 2014
Merlot appeared in France in the late 1700s. It’s a Bordeaux staple, the most widely planted variety in France. Merlot features very dark berries, which ripen early.
The Yakima Valley wine industry began with a first planting in 1869. The modern-day industry emerged in the 1960s. The Valley now has 17,000 acres/6880 h under cultivation, Merlot occupying some 2090 acres/840 h. The Yakima area features 82 wineries.
Area soils are composed of sand and silt with a mix of quartz and mica, offering excellent drainage and promoting deep roots. The Valley sees 300 days of sunshine, ensuring maximum ripening ability. The long growing season yields mature fruit; cool nights provide balanced acidity. The Cascade Range to the west of the Valley, which is Southeast of Seattle, blocks cooler, wet weather found west of the Range; growers must rely on drip irrigation to combat dry conditions.
This Merlot is a very dark cherry colour, nearly opaque. Initial aromas were redolent of late summer raspberry; stewed plum; cigar box (with its hints of sweetness); coffee; fine aged leather; caramel; and nutmeg. The luscious scents held promise of some well-defined tastes.
The flavour profile was intense, with flavours in harmony; acidity and tannins well integrated, with acidity a little more up-front than tannins. Tastes were mainly of plum; black cherry; jammy, very ripe summer fruits; with lively black pepper notes throughout. The pepper notes linger on a fairly long finish.
This is a wine of pronounced aromas and flavours, soft, smooth, rich and almost buttery in the mouth; dry; full-bodied. The lively acidity makes this an ideal food wine and also means it could be kept for some period of time, during which the tannins will continue to develop and the acidity will mellow.
The Cellar Craft Showcase Washington Merlot will be a fabulous match for duck, either confit or roasted; game meats; spicy foods (matching the peppery spices in the wine); and flavourful hard cheeses.
Prepared for Wine Kitz Ottawa Iris
By Wendy Smyth, Certified Sommelier