14 Hands Merlot 2012
This unique and beautiful landscape that gave these unbridled horses their spirit and tenacity now feeds our vines. With loamy-sand and gravel soils, these hills require a strong and determined grapevine, and our 14 Hands vines revel in this unique and world class terroir. With the fruit from these tenacious vines, 14 Hands wines are handcrafted into big, bold, juicy fruit forward reds and crisp, fruit forward white wines that are laced with the unbridled spirit and legend of the region.
14 Hands celebrates the spirit of these wild horses, and the rich and unique history of Washington wines not only in our wines, but also in the vibrant colors and images on our popular varietal labels and our new Hot to Trot red and white blend wines. Whether you enjoy 14 Hands by the glass in your favorite restaurant, or share a bottle with family or friends, our wines are the quintessential Washington wine experience – fruit-forward, easily enjoyable with any meal or on any occasion, and delivering a superb value for the price. Bringing this bottle of wine to the party is more than bringing just a wine – it’s a delicious wine with a unique story that’s sure to spark up a memorable conversation.
A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!
Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.
Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.