Review of Barnard Griffin 2012 Merlot @BarnardGriffin

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Barnard Griffin has a new look.

One of my favorite jobs was working for the family owned Barnard Griffin Winery. Hand-selling wine, meeting and greeting visitors from around the world and sharing stories of Washington wine were some of my best experiences. Period. It also pushed me to learn more about wine. I'm still learning. You are encouraged to stop by their expanded tasting room when you visit SE Washington.

New Griffin label and original Tulip label at the grocer.

It is always with pleasure when I see a bottle from one of my favorite local wineries. As with all things familiar, there is eventually change. Barnard Griffin Winery dropped their familiar, friendly tulip label design last year. They have decided to embrace the Griffin logo on their label. My thoughts? It does look classier and it presents well. The new label seems to make the bottle look bigger too. I miss the friendly tulip label, but I am adapting to the change. I can only hope that in future they do limited runs of the tulip design for special occasions.

But it's what's in the bottle that matters most.

Tasting Notes Barnard Griffin 2012 Merlot

Color: Violet to pink rim.
Nose: Spicy, currant, lavender, taffy, delicate orange peal, white pepper.
Palate: Good mouth feel, textured, focused to mid-palate, with lavender, rich cherry cordial, modest fine tannin with pleasant tingle on the tongue. A very nice hello.

After 15 minutes: Smoky body odor, like a lovers nuzzle, subtle earthiness, dark cherry cordial, chocolate shavings, vanilla essence, white pepper. Fuller in the mouth, cherry, sarsaparilla, hint of celery, vanilla toast, medium bodied, dry cherry and rose petal finish with acid tingle. Pretty floral finish.

After 30 minutes: Chocolate, light coffee, toffee, cherry cordial, white pepper and truffle on the nose. Cherry, truffle, chocolate, coffee, medium body, fine delicate tannin on the gums, minimal tingle, cherry-lavender taffy on the finish. Grilled game bird, grilled vegetables, salmon, and seafood Cioppino recommended.

At an hour: Chocolate, sour cherry, taffy, coffee, lavender, fine tannin, fresh finish. Pretty, feminine wine. Showcase of Columbia Valley fruit. Appealing. Perfect for tender beef brisket and pulled pork.

Two hours: Round with a nice spike mid-palate, nice grip on the teeth, lively, restrained, fresh, apple tannin on the finish. Youthful.

At three hours: Little changed.

Day two: Light nose with coffee, toffee, fig, dried blueberry, truffle, white pepper. Bigger drinking, it was bright mid-palate on the roof of the mouth, with cherry, blueberry, a pleasant grip on the lower gum, fine tannin across the tongue, coffee and fresh cherry with a hint of orange on the medium finish. A cheerful wine suitable for BBQ ribs, beef brisket, duck, salmon, fried pork chops and parties. Super flexible and quite appealing. My speed.

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Thoughts: Drank young, fruit driven, friendly and fresh. Would be wonderful paired with fatty meats, pulled pork, grilled lamb, beef brisket and duck. This will be an interesting wine to track over the next three years as it evolves in bottle. Stock up now. Recommended.

AVA: Columbia Valley
Closure: Nomacorc
ABV: 13.4%
SRP: $17

Barnard Griffin
Winery & Tasting Room
878 Tulip Lane
Richland, Washington 99352
Phone: (509) 627.0266
Fax: (509) 627.7776
Rob Griffin, Owner, Winemaker
Elise Jackson, Tasting Room Manager
www.barnardgriffin.com

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