Columbia Winery continues to produce high quality, reasonably priced wines. The most recent tasted was the 2103 Columbia Valley Merlot. Columbia vineyards benefit from the unique conditions of the Columbia Valley. With its sub-Ava’s, the area can give a variety of tastes and aromas which can interest almost any wine lover.
Because the area receives long summer days, intense and almost continuous sunlight and minimal rain, the wines come out with intensity similar to those found in the Mendoza area of Argentina. Columbia’s winemaker, Sean Hails, has a record of taking the best of the available grapes and bringing forth wines of interest and pleasure.
The 2013 Merlot has a deep purple color, inkish and inviting when poured. It will provide a nose of subtle spiciness, coupled with stone fruit at the beginning. The fruitiness is soft enough to be inviting, not overwhelmingly “fruit-forward”.
On the palate, the wine has a vanilla undertone coupled with a significant amount of blended oak. There is a fruity finish, bringing out a hint of plum. The finish ends with a softness which leaves a desire for more.
Winemaker Hails has used the grapes from this area for the Columbia juices used in all wines of the label. The soil is sandy loam, originally volcanic and it is perfect for the growth of the vines. During the growing season, the area averages 8 inches of rain, so water management is important for the development of the grapes. With this water stress typically encountered during the critical growth periods, the berries end up with intense flavors and color.
The growing season for the 2013 crop was warmer than usual, and the grapes were harvested in early September. This is slightly ahead of a normal year but resulted in some very intense grapes at harvest.
After harvest, the grapes were cold soaked for 48 hours to concentrate the flavors and then fermented in stainless tanks for up to 11 days. During fermentation, temperatures were controlled at 90 degrees F. To keep the flavors uniform the grapes were racked and returned on a regular basis. The color and flavors were enhanced by this process.
The 2013 Columbia Valley Merlot was composed of Merlot (87%), Syrah (11%), and Malbec (2%). The Alcohol Content was 13.9% and the pH was 3.66.
This is a very drinkable wine for today, and will be an addition to the cellar for the next 3 years.
Have a winederful day and enjoy your Columbia Valley Merlot!