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Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2008

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE91
  • RP91
  • WS90
14.6% ABV
  • WS92
  • WE90
  • RP91
  • WE91
  • TP90
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4.0 9 Ratings
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4.0 9 Ratings
14.6% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A bright, balanced wine with notes of black cherry, spice, and coconut leading to a long, smoky finish. Based on this winemaker's extensive research, this wine pairs well with just about anything but especially grilled steak and lamb.

Blend: 78% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
This wine gets the all-star treatment, blending fruit from 14 vineyards, and aging it in 60% new French oak. It's a substantial, muscular effort, with dark fruit, earth and tar components. A small addition of Petit Verdot darkens the color and thickens the tannins.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Columbia Valley Merlot offers up aromas of balsam wood, spice box, tobacco, violets, cassis, and blackberry. Savory on the palate, if slightly austere, another 1-2 years of bottle should fill the wine out. It will drink well through 2023.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Prickly tannins and a tang of acidity play against blackberry and cedary spice flavors in this firm red, which is nicely filled out, finishing with persistence.
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Northstar

Northstar

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Northstar, , Washington
Northstar
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.

Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

EMP46785_2008 Item# 114976

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