Merlot may be grown in many parts of the world, but there are only a handful of winegrowing regions with the perfect mix of growing conditions that allow Merlot to showcase the characteristics that make it one of the great noble varieties. When Merlot finds the right home; like in Washington and Bordeaux (where it is the most widely planted varietal), the resulting wines are truly remarkable.
For Merlot to strut its stuff it needs long, warm, sunny days to ripen matched with cool nights so as to retain its natural acidity and beautiful balance. Sitting at 46° latitude, Washington receives more than 17 hours of sunshine each day during the peak growing season and sees up to a 40° diurnal temperature swing once the sun goes down. It’s no secret that eastern Washington can be a windy place. That wind exposure stresses the vines and encourages them to grow thicker skins, resulting in more robust tannins and improved cellaring potential. Normally thin skinned, Merlot tends to plump up when exposed to water during the final ripening stages. Fortunately, we rarely see rainfall during harvest in Washington, and I believe this is a key reason we can make such extracted, aromatic, and beautifully balanced Merlots.
These factors, along with Washington’s unique geology are the very reasons we have been crafting premium Merlots since our founding in 1983. Since that time we have maintained a strong focus on producing high-quality Merlot by:
If you’ve been looking past Merlot in search of the next hot wine, I encourage you to try a bottle of the varietal that first propelled Washington State’s reputation forward as a premium red wine producing region. Whether it is to enjoy with dinner tonight or for your cellar, I think you will like what you find.
Marty Clubb, Managing Winemaker