Woodward Canyon Columbia Valley Merlot 2006
Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
This 2006 Columbia Valley Merlot is produced from grapes grown at several of the finest vineyards in Washington State. These include Weinbau Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope of central Washington (50%), Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley (31%), Sagemoor Vineyard overlooking the Columbia River in eastern Washington (15%) and DuBrul Vineyard in the Yakima Valley (4%). Fruit ripened beautifully in 2006 producing a more slightly approachable wine with great concentration, structure and expression.
The 2006 vintage was warm with fruit ripening fully by the first week in October. The wine shows extraordinary complexity yet is softer and more elegant than our 2005 Merlot. The blending of fruit from such fantastic vineyards has produced a complex flavor profile of generous cherry, oak, spice and coffee; I pick up notes of toasted coconut and vanilla in the aroma. Rich fruit and fully mature tannins give this wine the proportion and structure to age well for six years or more.
Wine Enthusiast - "There is a little Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Syrah (4%) in the blend also. This is a silky, yet muscular - lets say it, masculine - style of Merlot. Meaning that the fruit is concentrated with deep blue and black berry and cassis flavors, augmented with lead pencil. Beautiful polish and concentration characterize this wine, yet it's quite approachable."
Woodward Canyon Winery
Woodward Canyon Winery was founded by Rick Small in 1981. He is currently soul-searching on the subject of terroir. Debating the suitability of certain varietals to certain vineyard plots has become a quandary. On the one hand, the grapes growing there do fine and are the basis for extremely successful wines (Chardonnay, mostly); on the other, would Merlot or Cabernet Franc provide even more exciting character? The evolution of the Northwest wine industry continues. View all Woodward Canyon Wines
About Columbia ValleyView a map of Columbia Valley wineries
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Notable FactsMerlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.
About WashingtonRelated Links:Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.