Pepper Bridge Winery Merlot 2008
Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Inviting aromas of wildflowers growing along a dusty, gravely road mingle with bright notes of red cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and boysenberries. A rich, silky mouthfeel with a plush mid-palate delivers rounded flavors of mixed berries and hints of exotic spices, cedar and cola. The long persistent finish intertwines layers of sophisticated complexity, velvety tannins, and an appetizing level of acidity.
Blend: 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec
The Wine Advocate - "The new releases begin with the 2008 Merlot which contains 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec in the blend. The fruit was sourced nearly equally from Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills and was aged for 20 months in 47% new oak. Asian spices, incense, violets, cassis, and black cherry lead to a wine with a solid core of savory fruit, plenty of structure, and excellent balance. It will evolve for 2-3 years and drink well through 2023.
Wine & Spirits - "Like a Pepper Bridge cabernet, this merlot is built on a firm foundation of tannin. Though it gives up little at first beyond a hint of plum and sundried tomato, its flavors are more generous, buoyed by a mouthwatering acidity that keeps the wine lively while fine, firm tannins gird its finish. It has a strong future: Cellar, then serve with roast beef."
Wine Enthusiast - "Sweet, rich and luscious in a palate-enveloping style, this cherry-bomb of a Merlot opens with a rush of ripe, round, fruit-liqueur flavors. Delicious as it is, it hangs there right into a slightly alcoholic finish. Some further bottle age should make for continued improvement."
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Pepper Bridge Winery
Pepper Bridge focuses on making elegant, balanced wines from sustainably farmed Walla Walla Valley estate vineyards. These vineyards, Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills, are recognized as two of the best — not only in the appellation — but also in the state.
As farmers, the Pepper Bridge crew spends quite a bit of time talking about their vineyards. However, there is much to say about the wines and winery as well. Pepper Bridge Winery remains family-owned and true to its own sense of winemaking style. View all Pepper Bridge Winery Wines
About Walla Walla ValleyView a map of Walla Walla Valley wineries
Sharing part of the valley with Oregon, Walla Walla is on the southeast side of the Columbia Valley. It is primarily red grape land, with Cabernet Sauvignon leading in the vineyards, followed by Merlot and the ever-growing and very popular, Syrah.In the 1990's, as Washington State was gaining more acclaim for its red wines, Walla Walla was hailed by wine critics for its quality and sense of place. That has not changed. Many red wines from Walla Walla show not only great complexity and elegance, but ageability. Though the region is known for the red wines, the most planted white grape here is Chardonnay.
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.