In the 1980s, Washington was white wine country. Red wine was considered somewhat exotic.
Then came Merlot.
The Bordeaux variety known for its soft flavors and silky tannins proved to be a good match for Washington’s Columbia Valley and its dry, arid soils. By the mid-1990s, Merlot was Washington’s dominant red grape, and the state was gaining fame for it.
In recent years, with the rise of Syrah and the emergence of Cabernet Sauvignon, interest in Merlot has waned. It’s still proving to be a good match for Washington – and Idaho. Here are 12 examples we’ve tasted recently worth checking out. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the winery directly.