WEEKLY FLIGHT 6/10 through 6/12 - Merlots from Washington State

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  • By Mark Meissner
WEEKLY FLIGHT 6/10 through 6/12 - Merlots from Washington State

Happy Thursday,
Join us this this week as we bring you Bordeaux's right bank varietal star: Merlot, but from the New World. It's a grape study in this beautiful varietal which lost public appeal following the disparagement from the movie Sideways but today has great favor amongst fans of full-throttled red. The merlot from Washington state continues to impress, with its beautiful concentration and finesse. Stop in for the tasting flight and enjoy four formidable examples from four boutique producers in the Columbia Valley.
See our Summer Solstice announcement, tickets are now on-sale and moving!
If you've been vaccinated, feel free to remove your mask, and sip with us, inside or out. Shop and sip without inhibition.
See you today and tomorrow for our Washington State lineup of Merlot and read on...
Make it a great weekend and drink more WA state wines.
With much gratitude,
This weekend's flight:
WASHINGTON STATE Varietal View: Merlot!
Flight of 4 wines: $20 tasting
Thursday 5-8pm
Friday 5-8pm
Saturday 2-8pm
Columbia Valley, Merlot
The Abeja Winery sits at the base of the Washington Blue Mountains, just east of Walla Walla, on a farm estate over 100 years old. After spending 35 years in Portand, founders Ken and Ginger Harrison planned their strategic move to the Walla Walla valley in the 1990s.
The growing climate was ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, Ken’s preferred varietal, which made this the perfect location for Abeja. Ken focused on growing and producing, while Ginger operated the Harrison’s Inn. 
In 2002, Ken and Ginger met the perfect additions to their Abeja Winery team, John Abbott and Molly Galt. Hailing from the Napa Valley since college, John worked at Pine Ridge and Acacia Winery. He and Molly later began Canoe Ridge Vineyard in Walla Walla. Molly handled all of the marketing and public relations and John was the winemaker for almost ten years.
Today winemaking couple. Daniel Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler craft Abeja’s acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot as well as the winery’s sought-after, limited-release estate and reserve wines. Spanish for bee, the name Abeja (pronounced 'ah-BAY-ha') was chosen to honor a deep-rooted respect for the environment.
Terrific red currants, blackberries, spice box, and cedary herb notes all flow to a plump, medium to full-bodied Merlot that hits the palate with loads of fruit, a stacked mid-palate, and a great finish.
Columbia Valley, Merlot
Northstar Winery was established in the early 1990s drawing inspiration and embracing traditions and techniques that winemakers from various regions of France have been practicing for centuries.
Today, Washington state been recognized as one of the world’s most exciting and acclaimed regions for Merlot. In its earliest years, Northstar was guided by celebrated California winemaker Jed Steele, who worked extensively with their current winemaker, David “Merf” Merfeld. Now leading the way, and with access to the top 2% of the Columbia Valley’s nest Merlot grapes, Merf is creating wines stylistically similar to the world-renowned Merlot- based wines of France’s Bordeaux region’s Right Bank districts of Pomerol and St. Emilion, albeit with a unique touch of Washington’s personality!
Rich concentrated aromas of black cherry, plum, mint, cedar, and chocolate that lead into flavors of black raspberry and vanilla. The wine is big and bold and was created to enjoy now, or for many years to come as it will age gracefully.
Columbia Valley, Merlot
Nicknamed " The King Of Merlot" Mike Januik has been making wine for over 35 years. Januik grew up in California and came north to the University of Oregon to earn a bachelor’s degree. He and his wife owned a wine shop in Ashland when Mike's wife decided to go back to college to earn her MBA. About the same time, they sold the wine shop and Januik decided to pursue a career in winemaking. But to get into UC-Davis’ vaunted winemaking program, more chemistry classes were required, so he went back to school at Southern Oregon University while his wife earned her MBA.
In 1984, after Mike earned his degree in enology at UC-Davis, he left for the town of Sunnyside in Yakima Valley where the owner of Steward Vinyeards offered him a head winemaker position. He took the job and ended up staying for three years. For nearly 10 years, Mike Januik was the head winemaker for Chateau St. Michelle, Washington’s oldest and largest winery. In 1999, Januik knew it was time to leave St. Michelle and begin his own winery.
This supple, medium-bodied Merlot shows layers of black cherry, boysenberry and plum notes in the nose that translate into fleshy black fruit and chocolate flavors in the mouth. Brimming with a tremendous amount of texture and length, this wine should age gracefully for a minimum of 10-15 years!
Columbia Valley, Merlot
Ron Coleman serves as manager and winemaker of the winery that he founded in 1998. Located at the local airport in an old-World War II Fire Station! Ron began his career in the wine business in Seattle as a wine wholesaler, also working as a sommelier at the Pfister Hotel and as a retail wine store manager.
Danny Gordon has been the head winemaker at Tamarack Cellars since 1999.
The Merlot grapes are gently crushed and dropped into 1.5 ton bins for a 24-hour cold soak. The wine is then inoculated with a variety of yeast and hand punched until fermentation slows. The tanks are pressed directly to barrels, where the wine finishes both primary and secondary fermentation.
Notes of deep red fruit, including raspberry, boysenberry and currant on the nose, followed by leather, black pepper and cassis. The palate brings mouth-watering tannins with lingering red fruit, especially red cherry, flavors of rich meats on the midpalate, with a balanced, smooth finish.
Seriously great juice for the money.