Browne Family Vineyards Merlot 2013
Andrew Browne is the first to tell you he’s a tastemaker, not a winemaker. Andrew carefully and deliberately selected vineyards, winemakers and cellar masters committed to world class wine production to represent the best of the Columbia Valley AVA.
Inspired by the greatness of one man, William Bitner Browne, late grandfather of proprietor Andrew Browne, Browne Family Vineyards is a dream that has been many years in the making. Every decision made – from the vineyard to the bottle– reflects a commitment to premium Washington state wine of uncompromising quality, assuring cellar worthy vintages that stand the test of time. To date, Browne Family wines have received over 30 scores of 90 points from critical reviews.
Browne Family Vineyards now has two tasting rooms – in Walla Walla and Seattle – to share the fruits of the Browne family journey with others.
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.