This year I have had little to do with Washington Merlot. I'm not sure why. Merlot is one of the varieties I have always associated with premium Washington wine. Curious.
Last night, early this morning, I was thinking about this unpublished post and this bottle of wine. Somewhere in town last week, I saw a bottle of the 2010 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot on a store shelf. It got me thinking that it would be fun to compare a bottle of the 2010 with 2011. There are not many bottles of the 2010 still on the shelf, so if you are like minded then this is the time to hunt one down. 2011 was a cooler year than 2010 and this bottle of 2011 took a couple of hours to open up - so I'm thinking that the 2010 should be drinking well. Just thought I'd share that. Following are my tasting notes for the 2011 Merlot.
Nose: Plum, soft earth, incense spice, cherry.
Palate: Dry, plum, currant, vanilla, an almost root beer flavor with plum on the medium finish. Soft, dry on the gums. After 30 minutes vanilla taffy, chalky, cherry. After 2 hours nice fluid quality. Still soft, smooth, lightly dry, fuller mid-palate with plum and cherry and a little baked bell pepper. Not bad, not bad. At four hours this wine was silky smooth with a wonderful fluid quality. Good stuff at this point.
Thoughts: For $7 this wine is an affordable introduction to Washington Merlot. While 2011 was a cool vintage for Washington, this wine is a pretty tasty effort. My preference would be to decant for at least 2 hours before drinking it for pleasure. It surprised me how much was delivered with a little air exposure. Drink now and over the next three years. Recommended.
Closure: 2 + 1 cork
Columbia Crest Winery
Hwy 221, Columbia Crest Dr.
Paterson, WA 99345
Telephone (509) 875-4227
Open Daily 10:00am - 4:30pm
If you are passing through the Tri-Cities where I live, the Columbia Crest winery is about a 30 minute side trip from Richland. They have a very nice facility and an impressive tasting lineup usually available. It's been a few years since I last visited, I need to go visit.