Sagelands Merlot 1999

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington

Item No. 40207
  • red wine
  • ST86
Ratings Pedigree:
  • 1998
  • WS86

Winemaker's Notes

This vintage marks the beginning of a unique style for Sagelands Vineyard Merlot. In 1999 we took some big steps in new directions both in the vineyard and in the winery. The vineyards benefited from greater attention to those details that create great wines. We aggressively thinned unnecessary shoots and removed grape clusters to concentrate the grapevine's energy into the remaining grape berries. Letting the grapes hang on the vines longer than had been done in the past allowed them to achieve maximum color, ripeness, and intensity of flavor.

In the winery, new equipment allowed us to gently remove the stems without damaging the fruit. We left the grape berries whole to maximize the raspberry fruit character typical of Merlot from the Columbia Valley. The grapes were "cold soaked" in their own juice for 2–3 days to bring out the brilliant purple color and wonderful blackberry fruit aroma. Fermentation at 88–92 degrees F brought out more intensity of flavor and color. Aging the wine for 12–14 months in oak barrels contributed rich chocolate and toasty-smoke aromas and flavors.

The wine grapes used to make Sagelands Vineyard wines are grown in four distinctive areas we call the "Four Corners" of the Columbia Valley. Each area contributes its own special character that, when blended together, creates wines of great complexity and richness.This vintage is a blend of fruit from the prime western and eastern ends of the Yakima Valley AVA; the Merlot came from Spring Creek Vineyard (54 percent), Red Willow Vineyard (29 percent) and the Sagelands Estate Vineyard (10 percent). The Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were also from the Red Willow Vineyard.

Some of my favorite foods with this wine are grilled pork tenderloin, baked salmon, smoked meats, and morel mushrooms sautéed in olive oil spooned over pasta.

Kevin Mott, Winemaker

Learn About Sagelands Map ItMap It

The Four Corners of Washington"s Columbia Valley-Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills and Walla Walla Valley-have emerged in recent years as superb growing regions for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Developing strong relationships with local growers and supervising the cultivation of its vineyard sources assures Sagelands Vineyard an outstanding palette of top...

Read More About Sagelands

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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My goal for this wine was to create a well balanced Merlot with superbly rich fruit, soft tannins and dark ...
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