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Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2008

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE91
  • RP91
  • WS90
  • WS92
  • WE90
  • RP91
  • WE91
  • TP90
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4.0 9 Ratings
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4.0 9 Ratings

Winemaker Notes

A bright, balanced wine with notes of black cherry, spice, and coconut leading to a long, smoky finish. Based on this winemaker's extensive research, this wine pairs well with just about anything but especially grilled steak and lamb.

Blend: 78% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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WE 91
Wine Enthusiast

This wine gets the all-star treatment, blending fruit from 14 vineyards, and aging it in 60% new French oak. It's a substantial, muscular effort, with dark fruit, earth and tar components. A small addition of Petit Verdot darkens the color and thickens the tannins.

RP 91
The Wine Advocate

The 2008 Columbia Valley Merlot offers up aromas of balsam wood, spice box, tobacco, violets, cassis, and blackberry. Savory on the palate, if slightly austere, another 1-2 years of bottle should fill the wine out. It will drink well through 2023.

WS 90
Wine Spectator

Prickly tannins and a tang of acidity play against blackberry and cedary spice flavors in this firm red, which is nicely filled out, finishing with persistence.

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Northstar

Northstar

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Northstar, , Washington
Northstar
Northstar, located in Walla Walla, Washington, aims to make Merlots that can be considered among the world's best, using fruit sourced from one of the world's best regions for the variety: Washington state. Winemaker, David "Merf" Merfeld, blends New World fruit with an old world winemaking style, influenced by Bordeaux's "right bank," to create his highly-acclaimed wines. Northstar produces two Merlot-based wines from the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla AVAs, as well as the Stella Maris red blend and extremely limited production bottlings of the blending component varieties that Merf uses as his "spice box" in creating Northstar's Merlots.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

EMP46785_2008 Item# 114976

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