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Barnard Griffin Merlot 2004

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • W&S91
0% ABV
  • WE88
  • WE88
  • WS90
  • W&S90
  • WS87
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3.9 9 Ratings
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3.9 9 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Aromas of black cherry and black current are balanced with oak, spice, nutmeg, and vanilla. Bright fruit flavors dominate in the mouth with a lively acidity and moderate but smooth tannins. This Merlot is complex and layered and displays the intensity that can be developed in Washington State. While soft and approachable for near-term enjoyment, the subtle structural tannins and acid backbone give this wine excellent potential for aging. It is a splendid match for rich meats, dark red pasta sauces, smoked grilled salmon and is beautifully matched with Cajun or spicy oriental foods!

Sensory:
This 2004 vintage Merlot is a worthy successor to our award winning 2003. The aromas of black cherries and red currants dominate the nose. There is a good dose of medium toasted European oak barrels. You see a great vintage in the 2004 with moderate tannins and good acid. This wine drinks great now and has some punch worthy of 5-8 years aging.

Vineyards and Growing Season:
The 2004 growing season was hot with deep ripening fruit that gave us wines of good color, structure and depth. This is a wine with good weight on the pallet. My winemaking philosophy remains constant as I blend the great characteristics of various vineyard sources to develop the best wine in the bottle.

Winemaking:
Bordeaux yeast was used at a Max fermentation of 88 degrees F
Pump-overs 2 to 3 times daily until fermented to dryness
Bottled 1/06
Malo-lactic positive
Aged in both American and European oak barrels- Medium Heavy Toast

Alcohol: 13.8%

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
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Barnard Griffin

Barnard Griffin Winery

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Barnard Griffin Winery, Columbia Valley, Washington
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Barnard Griffin Winery was established in 1983 by Winemaker Rob Griffin and his wife, Deborah Barnard. Rob saw the opportunity to make great wine in Washington and moved north in 1977. Pleased with his move to Washington, he says "The northern latitude of Washington and the ideally drained sandy soils of the Columbia Valley make it possible to produce deeply concentrated wines of pronounced character."

Columbia Valley

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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.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.

FLD900703_2004 Item# 86647