Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 1999 Front Label
Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 1999 Front Label

Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 1999

  • WE94
  • WS91
  • RP91
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

World class Merlot from Washington State, this wine has it all. Intensity, elegance, and rich, velvety fruit. Simply delicious! The 1999 growing season began as one of the coolest on record since 1954, resulting in smaller fruit set and lower grape cluster weights. The month of August saw the onset of a prolonged period of warm, cloud free, sunny weather and low nighttime temperatures—ideal conditions for the development of intense aromas and flavors in the ripening grapes.

Harvest began in late September, giving extra time for flavors to mature. The fruit's complexity and concentration were further enhanced by smaller than usual berry size and low yields.

Aged for 18 months in French and American oak, using 75% new and 25% one-year-old barrels. Individual lots were gravity racked every three months for clarity, with a total of 6 rackings. More than 13 individual lots and 20 blend possibilities were tasted for the final blend.

"Northstar has ramped up production to 2,900 cases, on its way to 15,000 once the new winery (being built in Walla Walla) is operational. Here is flat-out killer fruit, stacked with all the flavors of the rainbow, that finds the silky sweet spot on the palate and goes for a long, long ride. This winery is on a roll."
-Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wines 2002

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
WS 91
Wine Spectator
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Northstar

Northstar

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Northstar, Washington
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Northstar, located in Walla Walla, Washington, aims to make Merlots that can be considered among the world's best, using fruit sourced from one of the world's best regions for the variety: Washington state. Winemaker, David "Merf" Merfeld, blends New World fruit with an old world winemaking style, influenced by Bordeaux's "right bank," to create his highly-acclaimed wines. Northstar produces two Merlot-based wines from the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla AVAs, as well as the Stella Maris red blend and extremely limited production bottlings of the blending component varieties that Merf uses as his "spice box" in creating Northstar's Merlots.

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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.

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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.

SWS88683_1999 Item# 53517

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