Canoe Ridge Merlot 2002

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington

Item No. 81667
  • red wine
Ratings Pedigree:
  • 1997
  • WE90
  • WS88

Winemaker's Notes

In Columbia Valley, 2002 proved to be a challenging year for early ripening varieties such as Chardonnay, although our Merlot was not as affected. Very warm growing conditions in late August and early September caused sugars to accumulate quickly in the fruit. At our estate vineyard we compensated for these warm conditions by continuing to irrigate the vines right up to the time of harvest.

Our estate vineyard's unique location at a broad expanse of the Columbia River in eastern Washington allows it to grow superior grapes. The vast river moderates the temperature, extending the grapes' hangtime on the vines during the long summer, yet protecting the vines in the winter. The vineyards' location on the northeast side of the ridge protects it from wind damage. It is one of the largest estate-owned single vineyards in the state. Due to the improvements in winegrowing over the last 10 to 15 years, we are now growing better balanced grapevines. These vines are less vigorous and don't draw up late season water like the vines did in the past. The end result is that we can spoon feed the vines water to slow down the sugar accumulation, allowing fruit flavor development to catch up, which is exactly what happened in 2002.

We fermented the wine in small lots, which allowed us to treat each one as a unique expression of the vineyard. By using a variety of fermentation practices, yeast strains and barrel coopers, we created individual components that we carefully pieced together for the final blend. We used a minimum of fining and filtration and we aged the wine in 85 percent French oak barrels for 20 months. The resulting wine has elegant, classic flavors of rich, velvety Canby raspberry, Bing and black cherry and Belgian chocolate.

Canoe Ridge Merlot is a great partner to a variety of foods. We have found the balanced acidity and rich fruit in our Merlot pairs best with fattier meats such as duck with cherry confit or Pacific Northwest salmon prepared on the grill and served with garlic mashed potatoes.

Customer Lists Including This Wine Add To Your Own List

Learn About Canoe Ridge Map ItMap It

Canoe Ridge Vineyard's estate vineyard, uniquely sited at a broad section of the Columbia River in eastern Washington, produces grapes of uncommon quality. The vast river moderates temperatures, prolonging the grapes' time on the vines during summer days, which are longer at this northern latitude, while protecting the vines from hard freezes in the winter. Sheltering ridges limit...

Read More About Canoe Ridge

Learn About Columbia Valley

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...

Read More About Columbia Valley

Learn About Merlot

Merlot(mehr-LOW) No second fiddle Merlot is coming back into its own. High popularity led to mass production, which then led to a backlash towards the variety (remember Miles in Sideways?). But passionate Merlot producers, and of course the right bank of Bordeaux, continued to produce quality versions of this grape. Merlot remains the principle grape of top chateaux in St...

Read More About Merlot

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