Sleeping Dog Wines 2005 Merlot, Yakima Valley, $23

By on April 1, 2014

sleeping-dog-labelThe 2005 vintage in Washington state ranked among the best in the past decade, and this Merlot by Benton City winemaker Larry Oates is aging beautifully. It captures aromas of Bing cherry, dried strawberry, chai spices and cedar, and there’s no April fooling on the palate. The rich entry of black cherry and black raspberry is held up by rewarding tannins and juicy acidity of ripe red currants. The finish offers complexity of cocoa powder and eucalyptus. This wine received a gold medal at the 2014 Capital Food & Wine Festival Wine Competition.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 138 cases

Alcohol: 15.2%

Winery website

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. Mike Causland

    April 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    This winery is indeed a hidden treasure. We (Linda and I) have been tasting for many years and Eastern Washington is indeed one of the best areas. We stumbled across Sleeping Dog Winery while going to some of our other favorite wineries. Hadn’t ever seen or heard of the winery so we stopped by, walked in and nearly tripped over the sleeping dog.

    The front end of the winery is somewhat …well very much like my office. Let’s just say I felt right at home. Need I say more? I said “hello” sort of loudly and out came the Larry. After a few minutes I asked “are we at the winery ” He assured us that we were indeed at Sleeping Dog Winery. I asked where the wines are. He said hold on for a sec where he went into a back and in a couple of minutes brought out some of the best wines I have tasted in years. What a treat and an awesome fellow winemaker.

    That old dog is pretty cool as well.

    Mike Causland and Linda Hollen
    Olympia, WA

    • Eric Degerman

      April 1, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      Sadly, Aurora recently passed. It was a difficult winter for Larry & Joyce.

      • Mike

        April 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm

        I imagine it has been tough. We have an 18 year old Silky Terrier. It will be hard when she goes. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jonathan White

    April 2, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I purchased a case of the 2002 merlot which was their first release and it was fantastic. The 05 Merlot is just as good too – time to stock up before it’s gone.

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