Baker’s dozen of Northwest Merlot

By on September 22, 2013

Columbia Crest 2009 StoneTree Vineyard Reserve Merlot, Wahluke Slope, $30

Juan Muñoz Oca is the head winemaker for Columbia Crest in Paterson, Wash. (Courtesy of Columbia Crest)

Juan Muñoz Oca is the head winemaker for Columbia Crest in Paterson, Wash. (Courtesy of Columbia Crest)

Want to make sure you get super-ripe fruit? Go see Tedd Wildman on the Wahluke Slope. Many of Washington state’s most hedonistic wines come from his StoneTree Vineyard, and Ray Einberger made the call to harvest Block 15 on Sept. 14, more than three weeks prior to the “game over” freeze in Eastern Washington. This wine seems to be at its peak right now and casts off aromas of black currant, dark cherry, molasses, cola and cedar. There’s a dense and rich entry of black Bing cherries and plums, backed by coffee, chocolate, Earl Grey tea and black pepper. There’s much to like here, including the integration of 70 percent new French oak barrels and those tannins are ever-present. The 2010 recently hit the market, but its older brother is work hunting for, too.

Rating: Outstanding

Production: 175 cases

Alcohol: 14.5%

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About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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