Aromas of black cherry and black current are balanced with oak, spice, nutmeg, and vanilla. Bright fruit flavors dominate in the mouth with a lively acidity and moderate but smooth tannins. This Merlot is complex and layered and displays the intensity that can be developed in Washington State. While soft and approachable for near-term enjoyment, the subtle structural tannins and acid backbone give this wine excellent potential for aging. It is a splendid match for rich meats, dark red pasta sauces, smoked grilled salmon and is beautifully matched with Cajun or spicy oriental foods!
This 2004 vintage Merlot is a worthy successor to our award winning 2003. The aromas of black
cherries and red currants dominate the nose. There is a good dose of medium toasted
European oak barrels. You see a great vintage in the 2004 with moderate tannins and good
acid. This wine drinks great now and has some punch worthy of 5-8 years aging.
Vineyards and Growing Season:
The 2004 growing season was hot with deep ripening fruit that gave us wines of good color,
structure and depth. This is a wine with good weight on the pallet. My winemaking philosophy
remains constant as I blend the great characteristics of various vineyard sources to develop the
best wine in the bottle.
Bordeaux yeast was used at a Max fermentation of 88 degrees F
Pump-overs 2 to 3 times daily until fermented to dryness
Aged in both American and European oak barrels- Medium Heavy Toast
Barnard Griffin Winery
Barnard Griffin Winery was established in 1983 by Winemaker Rob Griffin and his wife, Deborah Barnard. Rob saw the opportunity to make great wine in Washington and moved north in 1977. Pleased with his move to Washington, he says "The northern latitude of Washington and the ideally drained sandy soils of the Columbia Valley make it possible to produce deeply concentrated wines of pronounced character."
View all Barnard Griffin Winery Wines
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.
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.
Nothing about the appearance detracts from the experience (2 of 2). The bouquet is fairly neutral. Nothing odd or suspicious, but a light, pleasant smell that suggests a mild presentation and body (3 of 4). The presentation is indeed simple and enjoyable. Not overloaded with fruit, nor astringent with tannins. But not much to really talk about either. The body is middle of the road Merlot, and the finish is well-balanced but otherwise unremarkable (5 of 10). Overall, all the parts of this wine work well together. It's just not as complex a tasting experience as I woule like from my Merlot. Now is the right time to drink it, while it is still a well balanced wine. (2 of 4). I enjoied this wine, but I'll probably not buy it again, as ultimately, this wine is only an average, well made wine. TOTAL: 12 of 20
Most 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 & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.