Northwest Cellars 2013 Kestrel Vineyard Merlot, Yakima Valley, $16
Kirkland vintner Robert Delf contracted with one of Washington’s oldest sites for Merlot — Kestrel View Estate Vineyard – and continues his association with standout winemaker Robert Smasne for this rather hedonistic bottling emblazoned simply as “M.” Those old vines, established in 1972 near Prosser, set the table for aromas of sweet plum, macerated black cherry and maple syrup with dried strawberry and brown sugar. Its entry is rich with flavors of Rainier cherry and plum leading to fine-grained tannins on the midpalate. Black raspberry acidity transitions to red currant jelly in the long and pleasing finish of this veritable bargain red.
Production: 812 cases