Hello friends. If I owned a vineyard in Washington, I’d be planting Merlot right now.
One of the happiest trends of this year has been the resurgence, at least among this list, of Merlot, and there may not be anyplace else in the new world better suited to the varietal. Washington Merlots can be complex, muscular, beautiful; like suppler versions of Cabernets.
There is a clear track record of success growing Merlot on Red Mountain. Single-vineyard bottlings from Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval have proven over the years to be ageworthy and sometimes profound. So it’s no surprise to see a new crop of wineries tackling Red Mountain Merlot. What is surprising is the price.
Many of the best bottles of Red Mountain Bordeaux varietals and blends start at $40, so it’s a pleasure to see single-vineyard Red Mountain Merlot at this tariff. Obelisco Estate is planted well up Red Mountain (you can see its location on our vineyard map; unfortunately Google has changed the functionality of linking to My Maps, so you will need to change to terrain view, click Obelisco Estate Vineyard on the menu on the left side of the screen, and zoom in yourself). Even if you can’t see the map, I can tell you that this is one of the higher-elevation vineyards.
The result is Red Mountain Merlot (with small portions of Cab, Malbec, and Syrah) at 13.7% alcohol. This drinks like a slightly riper right-bank Bordeaux. The tannins have depth and a fine-grained character that is compelling, and there is a real sense of grip and chew in the mouth. Flavors are very much Merlot: red plum and red cherry, dark chocolate and dark coffee.
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($30); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”
First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.