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Milbrandt Traditions Merlot 2012

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    13.5% ABV
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    13.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The bottling of the 2012 Traditions Merlot is comprised of grapes harvested from Milbrandt's Wahluke Slope vineyards in the heart of the Columbia Valley. This Merlot is round and rich with classic aromas and flavors of blackberry, plum, hints of mocha and espresso with a touch of savory dried herb. It has a juicy, ripe entry, a soft round fruit-driven palate and a hint of vanilla creme on the finish.

    Blend: 89% Merlot, 8% Malbec, 3% Petie Verdot

    Critical Acclaim

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    Milbrandt

    Milbrandt

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    Milbrandt, Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Butch and Jerry Milbrandt planted their first vineyard in 1997. In the ensuing decade, Milbrandt Vineyards earned a reputation for growing some of Washington State's finest grapes. These grapes have found their way into many of Washington's most sought-after wines and the Milbrandt name and vineyards are featured on many prestigious labels.

    In 2006, under the talented direction of winemaker Gordon Hill, they began crafting signature wines using selected grapes from their reputable vineyards. Milbrandt's first wines were released in June 2007. The tradition for excellence established in their vineyards is inherent in every bottle of Milbrandt Vineyards wine.

    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.

    STC321577_2012 Item# 124803