SRP of $41 and purchased for $25 (Saturday Splurge). Also available at Costco for $29.99. Around 8,000 cases produced.
From the bottle:
"Rich, concentrated yet elegant, each vintage of Northstar Merlot is truly handcrafted from the best of the harvest to showcase Washington State's finest vineyards.
Columbia Valley, which covers 99% of the vineyard area in the state of Washington, offers a fascinating study in terroir. From the 300 days of sunshine a year to the desert like 6-10" of annual rainfall (due to the rain shadow effect from the Cascade Mountains) to the 40 degree diurnal shift (difference between daytime and night time temperatures) during the growing season to the extremely unique soils caused by Missoula Floods during the Ice Age 20,000 years ago, the area offers up very unique conditions for growing grapes.
And one of the grapes that tends to thrive, and also express itself quite differently, in these conditions is Merlot. Today's wine is an excellent example of Washington State Merlot that many might easily mistake for Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2009 Northstar Winery Columbia Valley Merlot begins with fabulous aromas of blackberry, violets, vanilla and cinnamon. The wine tastes silky and balanced and is loaded with more blackberry and black currant, licorice and plenty of dark chocolate. The tannins are relatively firm signaling that this wine still has plenty of ability to age. It ends dry with a nice streak of black pepper, lingering chocolate and a bit of tobacco on the long, satisfying finish. And the whole thing might be even better on day two. Fantastic!
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.