I just seem to be hitting all around these Twitter tasting events that have been going on. A couple of weeks ago, I managed to miss the #CaliCabs tasting, and now I've gone and prematurely popped the cork (hmm, seems like an unfortunate choice of words, but I'll let it run anyway) on the perfect wine to use for the upcoming #WAMerlot event that Josh over at Drink Nectar is putting together with some cohorts of his in Washington. Oh well, having tasted this wine, I can honestly say that it was worth it.
My wife and I took a trip up to Washington this summer and spent some time in Walla Walla. One of my favorite stops on our trip was at Northstar Winery. The lady who was working in the tasting room (unfortunately I've forgotten her name, I didn't know I'd be blogging about wine back then) was kind enough to take us on a tour of the cellar and talked with us for quite some time about their wines and about wine in the Walla Walla area. The real highlight of the trip was the wine though. After doing a tasting of their Merlot, I had no choice but to buy a bottle.
The 2005 Northstar Merlot from the Walla Walla Valey is made from 80% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Petit Verdot. The alcohol comes in at 14.4%, and a bottle will run you around $50 at the winery.
The nose of this wine leaps out of the glass with some wonderful dark cherry notes, along with some slightly herbal components. I also get a touch of coffee and something that I identified as dates, along with some leather and a little bit of cigar box aromas. On the palate, this wine is silky smooth, with some cherry and blackberry, as well as a little bit of well balanced oak. This wine has great structure and balance, with a nice finish that plays for a very long time.
This wine is outstanding, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has a chance to try it. At $50, it is certainly not an every day wine, but if you are looking for a nice Merlot to open on a special occasion, you could do a lot worse than this one. I did find myself asking if this wine was $20 better than the Barnard Griffin Merlot that I reviewed a while back, and I'm not sure that it was. Given the price, I would still recommend this wine, but if you are looking for a quality Washington Merlot that is a little more affordable, you might check out the Barnard Griffin Reserve.
Final Grade (1-5)