How many bridges can Jill and Kevin Ross and winemaker Bob Switzer see from their young Portland, Ore., winery? Seven, and this stunning Merlot is from their second commercial vintage. One reason why growers and winemakers in the Northwest appreciate Merlot is that it can ripen early, and harvest came Sept. 19 from Golden Ridge Vineyard, a Walla Walla Valley site nurtured by Mike Rasch. The collaboration on this single-barrel reserve project created aromas of cherries, boysenberry, chocolate-covered macaroon, molasses and horehound. Rich flavors bring out hints of blackberry, cherry, fresh-baked brownie and crushed walnut, backed by sandy frontal tannins. It’s a sturdy wine capped by a lengthy Chukar Cherry farewell. Look for these wines in Portland at Great Wine Buys, The Wine Cellar and ENSO Winery & Tasting Lounge.
Production: 25 cases