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Merlot 2018
Barnard Griffin
Region: Washington
Country:USA
Awards

n/a
Tasting Notes

This is a true representation of high altitude, Washington State Merlot. Rich and textured, with layers of dark fruit and salty minerality, offset by subtle tannins, balancing acidity and a hint of sweet oak vanillin. There is ample weight, but the wine is certainly not brooding. It can be enjoyed on its own with good company, but also makes a fantastic backyard barbecue wine.
Varieties

Merlot, which in French means ‘The Little Blackbird’, is the second most popular red grape in America (after Cabernet Sauvignon). Known for being soft, ripe and elegant, most Merlots are easy drinking reds that go well with food but can be enjoyed on their own. It is believed that the first time the grape was used in making wine was in the late 1700s when a French winemaker in the Bordeaux region formally labeled the grape as an ingredient in his Bordeaux blend. When the grape arrived in California in the mid-nineteenth century, instead of being blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, American winemakers began making wines using 100% Merlot.
Region

Columbia Valley was granted AVA status in 1984. Located on the eastern side of Washington, it is the largest AVA in the state, responsible for 99% of total wine production. With its dessert-like conditions (average annual rainfall is only 6-8 inches per year), irrigation is a necessity. The Columbia River, as well as snowmelt from the Cascade Mountains, supplies the region’s water for agriculture. Washington has an interesting dynamic between winemakers and grape growers in that they are often exclusively ‘Makers’ or ‘Growers’. Today, nearly 50% of Barnard Griffin’s fruit is grown on the estate.
Vineyard

This 2018 Merlot was sourced from four vineyards: Black Rock (Yakima Valley); Vinagium (Red Mountain); Caroway (Columbia Valley); and Lonesome Spring Ranch (Yakima Valley). All vineyards are farmed sustainably.
Winemaking

Harvested in the evening to maintain freshness. During maceration on the skins, pump-overs are performed twice daily. Fermentation temperature tops out at 29°C, with 19 months in a combination of new and neutral European oak barriques to soften the wine.

Wine Type: Red

Variety: Merlot

Classification: AVA

Orientation: Predominantly south facing slopes

Appellation: Columbia Valley/Yakima Valley

Gradient: Vineyards grown up to 600 masl

Soil: Volcanic, sandy loam, loess

Farming Practices: Sustainable farming.

Residual Sugar: Trace

Alcohol: 13.8

Malolactic: Yes

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: 0.55 g/l (PH 3.7)

Other Practices: Sustainable