Seven Hills Winery Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot 2003
A ripe, food-friendly Merlot exhibitng a broad array of flavors and aromas - toffee, violets, herb and vanilla accent ripe red and black fruit, with generous depth and length.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Established in 1988, Seven Hills Winery is proud to be among the founding estates of Walla Walla Valley. As pioneers who first championed the region, the winery’s heritage is built on longstanding relationships with the most renowned growers in the Northwest and a deep knowledge of the land. Their focus is crafting Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines that authentically reflect their places of origin.
When Seven Hills Winery was established in 1988, it was one of only five wineries in the region. As a founding vintner, Casey McClellan helped shape the varietal focus and development of the appellation by forming relationships with top growers in the Northwest and cultivating an understanding of each vineyard’s character. Through this focused approach and following decades of careful study, Seven Hills Winery crafts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines that reflect their distinct terroir and reach their highest potential. McClellan helped plant the first significant vineyard dedicated to Bordeaux varietals in Walla Walla Valley and over time, the founding blocks of the winery’s estate vineyard emerged as one of the Northwest’s most renowned sites. Today, SHW Founding Vineyard provides fruit for the winery’s marquee single vineyard wines, and their grapes are sought after by some of the region’s most respected wineries. They also source fruit from other esteemed vineyards they’ve been working with for many years, including McClellan Estate Vineyard and Summit View Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley and Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun Vineyard in the Red Mountain appellation.
Seven Hills Winery crafts wines that are well-balanced and taste true to their varietal characteristics and terroir. To that end, they let the outstanding quality of their fruit shine through, by using traditional fermentation techniques and barrel selections that highlight the varietal grape flavors inherent in the wine. This philosophy allows them to create wines that pair well with a variety of foods and are meant to be enjoyed as part of a meal. Their tasting room and winery are located in downtown Walla Walla, in the historic Whitehouse-Crawford building. Visit them for a winery tour, tasting or food, and wine pairing.
Responsible for some of Washington’s most highly acclaimed wines, the Walla Walla Valley has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years and is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers.
The Walla Walla Valley, a Native American name meaning “many waters,” is located in southeastern Washington; part of the appellation actually extends into Oregon. Soils here are well-drained, sandy loess over Missoula Flood deposits and fractured basalt.
It is a region perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of red berry, black olive, smoke and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot create a range of styles from smooth and supple to robust and well-structured. White varieties are rare but some producers blend Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon, resulting in a rich and round style, and plantings of Viognier, while minimal, are often quite successful.
Of note within Walla Walla, is one new and very peculiar appellation, called the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. This is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries are totally defined by the soil type. Soils here look a bit like those in the acclaimed Rhône region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but are large, ancient, basalt cobblestones. These stones work in the same way as they do in Chateauneuf, absorbing and then radiating the sun's heat up to enhance the ripening of grape clusters. The Rocks District is within the part of Walla Walla that spills over into Oregon and naturally excels in the production of Rhône varieties like Syrah, as well as the Bordeaux varieties.
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.