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Flying Fish Merlot 2003

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Winemaker Notes

    The vibrant, medium bodied 2003 Flying Fish Merlot has concentrated mocha, vanilla and blueberry aromas, fresh plum flavors, a hint of oak and a lingering finish.

    Small parcels of fruit were selected from several vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley. By blending fruit from different vineyards, the winemaking team at Big Fluke created a well-balanced, fruit expressive wine, with a nuance of oak that demonstrates the outstanding quality of Merlot available from the Columbia Valley. Each vineyard in the final blend contributes important aspects to the finished wine.

    Critical Acclaim

    Flying Fish

    Flying Fish

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    Flying Fish, , Washington
    Flying Fish
    Flying Fish Merlot is crafted with a desired style in mind. For the inaugural vintage small parcels of fruit were selected from several vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley. By blending fruit from different vineyards, the winemaking team at Big Fluke created a well-balanced, fruit expressive wine, with a nuance of oak that demonstrates the outstanding quality of Merlot available from the Columbia Valley. Each vineyard in the final blend contributes important aspects to the finished wine.

    The image on the front of the bottle is a replication of Northwest artist, Blaine Billman's painting. The team at Big Fluke loved the image the first time they saw it and felt it was perfect for this wine for two reasons. First, it is a very good representation of traditional Northwest art tying back the wine to its Washington heritage. And second, it is a Sockeye Salmon. These salmon migrate up the Columbia River to spawn, traveling past several of the vineyards used to create Flying Fish. The name Flying Fish was chosen based on the graphics Blaine has so elegantly created.

    One of the most iconic regions of Italy for wine, scenery, and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simply to complex and age-worthy, as well as in price from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano trailing far behind. Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines are produced in their respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Bolgheri, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, with the hillside locations hosting the best vines, as Sangiovese ripens most efficiently with maximum exposure to sunlight.

    Sangiovese at its simplest, often carrying a regional designation of Chianti or just Italy, produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright red fruit and not much more, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity. In top-quality Sangiovese-based wines, expressive notes of sour cherry, balsamic vinegar, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise, tobacco smoke, and cured meat fill the glass. Brunello in particular is sensitive to vintage variation, performing best in years that are not too hot and not too cold. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Syrah, often grown in Tuscany’s Bolgheri region, with or without Sangiovese. These tend to be big, bold, and modern in style, often with noticeable new oak, and sold at super-premium prices.

    Other Red Blends

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    With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

    ULL319403_2003 Item# 87106

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