Great Northwest Wine top 100 wines of 2014: 30-21

By on December 29, 2014

23. Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2012 Merlot, Idaho, $25

Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2012 Merlot labelThe husband/wife team of Karl and Coco Umiker do it all between the two of them in Lewiston, Idaho, buoyed by his education in chemistry (Arkansas) and soil science (Idaho) and her doctorate in food science from Washington State University. Their own Umiker Vineyard supplied 80% of the fruit for this, but there’s also support from Rock n’ J Vineyard in Rogersburg — the easternmost site in Washington — and Carménère (2%) from Phinny Hill in the Horse Heaven Hills. They’ve created a mellow-drinking Merlot, something not often found in the Northwest, and their presentation starts with aromas of black currant, dusty blackberry and plum as American oak influence adds hints of toasted walnut, espresso and chocolate. That barrel influence shows up early on the palate with notes of dark roast coffee and chocolate, but black fruit soon spills out with pleasing richness, balance and depth.

Production: 115 cases

Alcohol: 13.7%

Winery website

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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.

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