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Preston Wine Cellars Merlot 1999

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
    0% ABV
    • WE86
    All Vintages
    Currently Unavailable $13.99
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    It is soft, smooth and has a lot of fruit. This is a wine that complements a variety of foods such as red meats, heavy sauces, Italian food and chocolate.

    Alcohol: 13% by volume

    Critical Acclaim

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    Preston Wine Cellars

    Preston Wine Cellars

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    Preston Wine Cellars, Columbia Valley, Washington
    Preston Premium Wines, Washington State's premier family owned and operated winery, located in the fertile irrigated farmlands of Washington State's Southern Columbia Basin, is one of the most promising winegrowing endeavors of the world. Eastern Washington, climatically similar to Northern Europe, is fast gaining recognition as a major production area for wine grapes of exceptional varietal character and balance. Bill and Joann Preston were among the enthusiastic pioneers who early on recognized the potential of Vintis vinifera in this unexploited area. The Preston family established their 50-acre vineyard in 1972-73, planting several varieties of native European grapevines at their Pasco site (heat summation Region II). This was increased to 171 acres in 1979. The facility is now run by their son and daughter Brent Preston and Cathy Preston-Mouncer.

    The Preston family, in fulfillment of a long-time goal, broke ground for their winery building in the spring of 1976. The first crush, approximately 190 tons, got underway in late September of that same year. The white wines were allowed limited skin contact and then cold fermented in jacketed stainless steel tanks to maximize fruitiness and varietal character. The red wines were fermented in open stainless steel tanks and allowed to "dry out" on the skins to maximize color and flavor extraction. Controlled fermentation with pure yeast strains is an important element of Preston's winemaking style. Barrel aging in Limousin, Alliers and Nevers (French) oak, adds a desirable degree of fullness and complexity to Preston's dry wines, while the semi-dry wines are aged and finished in stainless steel cooperage. Careful grape culture with a critical eye on crop levels and control of pests and diseases brings truly outstanding fruit in the Columbia Basin. Preston Wines have been rated among the finest in the world.

    Columbia Valley

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    A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for 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 extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. 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 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, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

    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. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, 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 and Cabernet Franc.

    NOR150096_1999 Item# 57266