- Yakima Valley winemakers show fondness for Secret CrushPosted 11 hours ago
- Washington’s Double Canyon makes national pushPosted 2 days ago
- Ron Irvine’s ‘Wine Project’ tells story of Washington winePosted 3 days ago
- Telaya begins new chapter for Idaho winePosted 4 days ago
- Champoux champions Marquette grape in retirementPosted 5 days ago
- Cab is king at this year’s Celebrate Walla WallaPosted 6 days ago
- Great Northwest white winesPosted 7 days ago
- Oregon coast town gears up for Savor Cannon BeachPosted 1 week ago
- Small Washington wineries ask state for tax breakPosted 1 week ago
- Seattle Wine and Food Experience a global opportunityPosted 1 week ago
Washington Merlot, straight up
It’s been nearly a decade since Sideways hit the big screen and changed the public perception of Merlot – and Pinot Noir.
While a single line from that Oscar-nominated movie moved the needle down on Merlot sales a bit, that was primarily in California. Here in Washington, Merlot has only gained strength.
It is still the No. 2 red wine grape – No. 4 grape overall – and Merlot can result in such rich, delicious wine, both by itself and in blends. While Cab is the king of reds, winemakers in Washington do not overlook Merlot by any stretch.
One reason for Merlot’s success in Washington is the climate. In more fertile regions, Merlot is difficult to control because it wants to grow, which causes it to lose focus on the fruit. But in Washington, the soils are poor and growers give the vines barely enough water to survive. As a result, Washington Merlot vines focus all of their energy on the grapes. The result: concentration and richness.
Here are 11 Merlots we’ve tasted in the past several weeks, many of which are in that magical $15-and-under range.