100% Merlot. 58% from the Shaw Vineyard, 25% from the Zirckle Fruit Vineyard and 17% from the Marachek Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington. The wine is aged for 18 months in 20% American and 80% French oak.
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SRP of $15 and available for as low as $12. 23,000 cases produced. Sample submitted for review.
From the bottle:
Seven Falls was inspired by a series of seven waterfalls that once flowed along the Columbia River through what is now known as the Wahluke Slope. With one of the warmest and driest climates in Washington state, and sandy loam soil in the vineyards, the terroir in this historical region is perfect for creating big, bold wines with outstanding structure.
Washington State has been producing some exciting wines for Reverse Wine Snobs and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is the company behind many of them – from Columbia Crest, to 14 Hands to Chateau Ste Michelle and more. And today we have one of their new labels focusing on wines from the Wahluke Slope.
What is the Wahluke Slope, you might ask? It’s a small AVA within the larger Columbia Valley region, situated just above the Columbia River in south-central Washington. The area sits on a south facing slope in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains. Combine this lack of rain with warm temperatures, abundant sunshine and rocky soils and you actually have a great combination for some extremely flavorful grapes (with careful irrigation).
The area is responsible for about 15% of the grape production in the state but most of that has historically been blended into wines from other areas of the Columbia Valley – usually to give them a little extra depth and body. Today we get to try a wine that is 100% Wahluke Slope and not only that but the 2011 Seven Falls Cellars Wahluke Slope Merlot even spends 18 months in mostly French oak. That’s just crazy at price point of just $12.
All that oak is evident right from the get-go as you are immediately greeted with abundant vanilla, chocolate and coffee notes on the nose along with plenty of rich dark fruit. Those oak notes continue when tasting this super smooth and silky wine. Filled with lots of rich fruit like black cherry, raspberry and plum, be sure to give it a good decant before drinking. (Cellaring for a year or two will likely also prove to be quite rewarding.) Cola and nice touches of spice lead into the dry, long finish that also features lingering coffee and chocolate.
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.