K Vintners Northridge Merlot 2012
Located at the base of the Blue Mountains in Walla Walla Washington, K Vintners opened its doors to the public on December 3rd, 2001. The property at 820 Mill Creek Road where the winery sits was homesteaded in 1853 with the adjacent farmhouse built in 1872. The winery grounds with Titus Creek flowing through the lawn and the old pioneer planted trees, is a little slice of heartland Americana. The Winemaker: He loves to drink wine! Charles Smith, proprietor and winemaker, comes to Walla Walla after 11 years in Scandanavia. Originally from northern California, he has been involved with wine personally and professionally his whole life. And did we forget to mention... he loves to drink wine! The Vineyards: K Vintners is producing wines from 2 distinctive viticultural zones: Wahluke Slope and Walla Walla Valley. Each of these areas are unique and awesome for Syrah and the Field Blends produced. In April '02 two seperate blocks of vineyards were planted to Syrah adjacent to the winery in the rocky dry creek beds that run through K Vintners property.
An important winegrowing state increasingly recognized for its high-quality reds and whites, Washington ranks second in production in the U.S. after California. Washington wines continue to gain well-deserved popularity as they garner higher and higher praise from critics and consumers alike.
Washington winemakers draw inspiration mainly from Napa Valley, Bordeaux and the Rhône as well as increasingly from other regions like Spain and Italy. Most viticulture takes place on the eastern side of the state—an arid desert in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountains. Irrigation is made possible by the Columbia River. Temperatures are extreme, with hot and dry summers and cold winters, during which frost can be a risk.
Washington’s wine industry was initially built on Merlot, which remains an important variety to this day, despite having been overtaken in acreage planted by Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Bordeaux blends and Rhône blends are common as well as single varietal bottlings. Washington reds tend to express a real purity of concentrated fruit. The best examples have a bold richness, seamless texture, plush or powdery tannins and flavors such as licorice, herb, forest floor, espresso and dark chocolate.
In terms of white wine, Riesling is the state’s major success story, producing crisp, aromatic examples with plenty of stone fruit that range from bone dry to lusciously sweet. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc perform nicely here as well, and Viognier is beginning to pick up steam.
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.