Washington Merlot love

By on March 9, 2014
Washington Merlot is easy to love.

Merlot is easy to love – and there is plenty to go around, as it is Washington’s No. 2 grape. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Washington Merlot is easy to love. It’s smooth, rich and luscious with plenty of structure. It’s not usually as expensive as its big brother Cabernet Sauvignon.

In Washington state, Merlot has long been a star. For a decade-long stretch starting in the mid-1990s, it was the state’s No. 1 red wine grape. And even though Cabernet Sauvignon is the star, Washington Merlot continues to play an important role. Last year, Washington winemakers crushed 36,000 tons of Merlot. While this was well behind Cabernet Sauvignon, it was more than twice as much as Syrah.

Here are a dozen Washington Merlots we’ve tasted in recent weeks. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.


  1. Bill

    March 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Lots of love for Merlot. Several of your recently are new to me. I am looking forward to trying them. Several of my favs, in addition to Kyra’s Estate Merlot, wonder if you had the opportunity to try them…are: Dunham Cellars, Januik, Kontos, LongShadow’s “Pedestal”, Pepperbridge, Reininger, Seven Hills, Sineann, and of course, Leonetti Cellar, L’Ecole!?!

    • Andy Perdue

      March 11, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Hi, Bill. We do taste a lot of these wines. However, this group included Merlots we’ve tasted in the past few weeks.

  2. Jeff C

    March 12, 2014 at 10:14 am

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I really enjoy your website and this story and review in particular as I enjoy well made Washington Merlot. I’m blown away by the quality and value of the Columbia Winery 2012 Merlot. This is a juicy, plummy wine that gets better after being open for at least three days. I hope other wineries take note as this a great example of Merlot, especially at this price point. I can’t wait to see the evolution of Sean Hails (Columbia Winery Winemaker)wines over these next few years. A very promising future for this winery indeed!


    Jeff Curry
    Gig Harbor, WA

    • Andy Perdue

      March 12, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Thanks, Jeff. We appreciate the great feedback.

      We’ve now tasted the Columbia wines three or four times, mostly under blind tasting conditions, and they are delicious. Add in the price point, and I think Gallo has a winner here.

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