- VineLines Dispatch: Harvest surrounding Lake Chelan
- Northwest restaurateurs purchase Basel Cellars in Walla Walla
- Hayden Homes CEO buys interest in Pepper Bridge, Amavi wineries
- Walla Walla Community College to receive $15 million gift from MacKenzie Scott
- Brian Carter Cellars adds Latin influence with marketing hire
- VineLines Dispatch: A Gorgeous look at harvest
- Goose Ridge hires Peter Devison as winemaking consultant
- Tri-City winemaker Palencia partners on Culture Shock mobile catering
- Armstrong Family Winery turns Discovery Vineyard Syrah into best wine at Great Northwest Invitational
- VineLines Dispatch: Harvest of Walla Walla Valley
Washington Merlot, straight up
It’s been nearly a decade since Sideways hit the big screen and changed the public perception of Merlot – and Pinot Noir.
While a single line from that Oscar-nominated movie moved the needle down on Merlot sales a bit, that was primarily in California. Here in Washington, Merlot has only gained strength.
It is still the No. 2 red wine grape – No. 4 grape overall – and Merlot can result in such rich, delicious wine, both by itself and in blends. While Cab is the king of reds, winemakers in Washington do not overlook Merlot by any stretch.
One reason for Merlot’s success in Washington is the climate. In more fertile regions, Merlot is difficult to control because it wants to grow, which causes it to lose focus on the fruit. But in Washington, the soils are poor and growers give the vines barely enough water to survive. As a result, Washington Merlot vines focus all of their energy on the grapes. The result: concentration and richness.
Here are 11 Merlots we’ve tasted in the past several weeks, many of which are in that magical $15-and-under range.