Mercer Bros. Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
#72 of Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2020
This wine gives aromas of ripe red fruit, blackberry pie, dried cranberries with hints of brown sugar and warm baking spices. Powdery tannins lend structure to this wine, while maintaining elegance and ending in a long lingering finish.
Blend: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Syrah, 3% Merlot
Pairs well with grilled meats, red pastas, sharp cheeses.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A pleasingly savory cabernet from estate sources in the Horse Heaven Hills, this leads with scents of peppercorn and cardamom. Its sleek red-cherry suite of flavors is surprisingly light and buoyant, with limber texture and tobacco-scented tannins; for a garlicky beef stir-fry.
Lots of currants, fresh flowers and walnuts on the nose and palate. Full body, soft and velvety tannins and a warm, ripe-fruit finish with vanilla and new wood. A little obvious, but satisfying for a big wine. 80% cabernet sauvignon, 17% syrah and 3% merlot.
A spry and appealing red, with lively black cherry and dried sage flavors that add richness toward fine-grained tannins.
Mercer Bros. Will and Rob continue the independent spirit of their great grandfather, who settled in remote eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley in 1886 to begin the family farm. In 1972 the third generation Mercers pioneered wine growing in the area, planting on the same land the vines that produced Washington’s first 100-point wines from Robert Parker. The Mercers founded the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, now Washington’s highest scoring appellation for Cabernet Sauvignons. Mercer Bros. wines are predominantly estate grown, including some of Washington’s oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines dating to 1972.
"Surely this is Horse Heaven!”
Its wide prairies and rolling expanses led an early pioneer to proclaim that the region looked like “horse heaven,” and as a result, the area was appropriately named. Horse Heaven Hills is in south central Washington state, geographically bound on its northern border by the Yakima River and in the south, by the larger Columbia River.
Its proximity to the Columbia River contributes to a variety of climactic factors that dramatically affect its grapes. In particular, an increase in wind from changes in pressure along the river, which flows from the cool and wet Pacific Ocean, inland to Washington’s hot and arid plains, creates 30% more wind than there would be otherwise. These winds moderate temperatures, protect against mold and rot, reduce the risk of early and late season frosts, diminish canopy size and toughen grape skins.
The vineyards bordering the river are on steep, south-facing, well-exposed slopes, with well-drained, sandy-loam soils. But the soils of the appellation are diverse throughout, ranging from wind-blown sand and loess, Missoula Flood sediment, and rocky basalt. Horse Heaven Hills has an arid continental climate with elevations ranging from 200 to 1,800 feet.
The first vines of the appellation were planted in 1972 in an optimal spot now referred to as the Champoux Vineyard. Today it remains the source of some of Washington’s most desirable and expensive Cabernet Sauvignons. In fact, the appellation as a whole boasts many of Washington’s top scoring wines. Its primary grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.