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Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2012

Member Review by puhnner:

Had this at lunch at Marcello's Chophouse the other day. Interesting - I asked the waitperson to pick something to go with the Lobster Bisque - it is dark and inky and opens like a herb/slate forward Pinot. There was a lightness there, that led me to believe it was the Pinot...Being as suggestable as I am, when I asked what the wine was, a Merlot, I thought funny, would have guessed it a Pinot. Then of course, the more it sat in the glass, the more it became a 'Merlot', quite lovely though. Next time I am going to ask them to tell me the wrong varietal and see if I can sort it out. Time for a 'blind tasting'

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3.7444585987261 5 0.5
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Northstar Winery:
Combining the art of old world wine-making with new world innovation to create Merlots that can be considered among the world’s best, from one of the world’s most acclaimed Merlot producing regions: Washington State. Washington State is America’s second largest wine-producing region, with over 31,000 vine acres and 600 wineries, 90% of them east of the Cascade Mountain range in the Columbia Va... Read more
Combining the art of old world wine-making with new world innovation to create Merlots that can be considered among the world’s best, from one of the world’s most acclaimed Merlot producing regions: Washington State. Washington State is America’s second largest wine-producing region, with over 31,000 vine acres and 600 wineries, 90% of them east of the Cascade Mountain range in the Columbia Valley of Eastern Washington, a high-plains region in which the Snake, Yakima and Columbia rivers converge. The Columbia Valley encompasses eight American Viticultural Areas: Walla Walla Valley, Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills, Wahluke Slope, Puget Sound and the Columbia Gorge. In this semi-arid climate, vines are planted on south-facing slopes to enhance sun exposure in the summer and air drainage in winter. The Cascades block the harsh storms coming in from the Pacific Ocean and so, Eastern Washington receives only 6 to 8 inches of rainfall annually. This creates an ideal environment for wine grapes to thrive year after year. The Columbia Valley’s warm, sunny days and extended sunlight hours (17.5 during the summer growing season) help develop intense flavors while its cool nights ensure high levels of acidity in the Merlot grapes. Read less

Member Reviews for Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot

Add your review
Snooth User: puhnner
1534072,527
4.50 5
07/14/2016

Had this at lunch at Marcello's Chophouse the other day. Interesting - I asked the waitperson to pick something to go with the Lobster Bisque - it is dark and inky and opens like a herb/slate forward Pinot. There was a lightness there, that led me to believe it was the Pinot...Being as suggestable as I am, when I asked what the wine was, a Merlot, I thought funny, would have guessed it a Pinot. Then of course, the more it sat in the glass, the more it became a 'Merlot', quite lovely though. Next time I am going to ask them to tell me the wrong varietal and see if I can sort it out. Time for a 'blind tasting'


Snooth User: jtryka
3127992,501
3.50 5
Vintage: 2011 04/23/2015

The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass, with a center that borders on indigo. The nose is an interesting combination of mocha, dark chocolate and raspberry over a subtle base of earthy minerality. The taste is very nice, a blast of fruit up front, tart cherry, raspberry that transition seamlessly into some vanilla bean and toasted oak midpalate. The finish is quite nice, with a hint of basalt among the fine tannins that support the long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish. See the full review on my blog here: http://allaloneonaplanetfullofpeople.blogspot.com/2015/02/2011-northstar-columbia-valley-merlot.html


Snooth User: Stallion
381013946
3.50 5
Vintage: 2009 04/05/2014

Another winner from Northstar! The 2008 was good but a bit light on the structure and substance. This is a bigger more complex wine with a good back bone and very nice balance, Northstar does Washington Merlot right....again and again! Cheers!


Snooth User: Stallion
381013946
3.00 5
Vintage: 2008 05/31/2013

Another nice Merlot from Northstar. Less structured than the 2007.....But so smooth....especially as the wine opens. Lots of notes of cigar box and spice on the nose and palate. Super easy to drink and very well balanced as usual! Cheers!


Snooth User: Ron5953
634884297
3.50 5
Vintage: 2008 02/24/2012

Three and a half glasses


Snooth User: Stallion
381013946
4.00 5
Vintage: 2007 12/08/2011

another great year for Northstar! The 2007 scores better for me than the 2006. Smooth and soft on the palate with lush fruit and good balance. more proof that some Merlots can be every bit as good as a Cabernet! Cheers!


Snooth User: anchca
2400701,635
3.50 5
Vintage: 2007 08/02/2013

Three and a half glasses


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External Reviews for Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot

External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
02/22/2019

Vintage: The 2012 vintage was a return to the “classic” Washington growing conditions and a much welcomed change from the cooler 2010 and 2011 vintages. Bud break started slightly earlier than normal but cooler temperatures through the early summer delayed veraison slightly. A warming trend began in late July and dry conditions through mid-October were ideal for fruit ripening. Vineyards: Diversity of vineyards and sub-appellations within the Columbia Valley are Northstar’s hallmarks. Fruit is selected from the very best possible sources throughout the Columbia Valley. Winemaker David “Merf ” Merfeld works closely with each grower to achieve specific fruit quality and yield parameters. Vines average 15 years old and yield grapes with concentrated varietal flavors of cherry and plum with elegant tannins. Fruit from more than 10 separate vineyards and 14 different blocks contributed to the blend. Winemaking: At harvest, grapes were destemmed and crushed with 40% whole berries remaining. Grapes fermented on the skins for five to seven days with daily punch downs to extract flavor, colors and fine tannins. The wine was placed into 90% French oak barrels of which 55% was new oak. The wine aged for 18 months with racking occurring at three month intervals. Tasting Notes: The 2012 vintage has rich concentrated aromas of cherry, raspberry and chocolate that lead into flavors of cedar and vanilla with a lingering toasted oak finish. This highly structured wine was created to enjoy now, or for many years to come as it will age gracefully. Enjoy! – David “Merf” Merfeld, Winemaker Blend: 82% Merlot 16% Cabernet Sauvignon 2% Petit Verdot Total Acidity: 0.58g/100ml pH: 3.75 Alcohol: 14.7% ** Only 2 in Stock **


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
02/16/2017

Vintage: The 2012 vintage was a return to the “classic” Washington growing conditions and a much welcomed change from the cooler 2010 and 2011 vintages. Bud break started slightly earlier than normal but cooler temperatures through the early summer delayed veraison slightly. A warming trend began in late July and dry conditions through mid-October were ideal for fruit ripening. Vineyards: Diversity of vineyards and sub-appellations within the Columbia Valley are Northstar’s hallmarks. Fruit is selected from the very best possible sources throughout the Columbia Valley. Winemaker David “Merf ” Merfeld works closely with each grower to achieve specific fruit quality and yield parameters. Vines average 15 years old and yield grapes with concentrated varietal flavors of cherry and plum with elegant tannins. Fruit from more than 10 separate vineyards and 14 different blocks contributed to the blend. Winemaking: At harvest, grapes were destemmed and crushed with 40% whole berries remaining. Grapes fermented on the skins for five to seven days with daily punch downs to extract flavor, colors and fine tannins. The wine was placed into 90% French oak barrels of which 55% was new oak. The wine aged for 18 months with racking occurring at three month intervals. Tasting Notes: The 2012 vintage has rich concentrated aromas of cherry, raspberry and chocolate that lead into flavors of cedar and vanilla with a lingering toasted oak finish. This highly structured wine was created to enjoy now, or for many years to come as it will age gracefully. Enjoy! – David “Merf” Merfeld, Winemaker Blend: 82% Merlot 16% Cabernet Sauvignon 2% Petit Verdot Total Acidity: 0.58g/100ml pH: 3.75 Alcohol: 14.7%


External Review
Vintage: 2011 07/28/2017

A project started by Jed Steel back in the mid-90's and now part of Chateau Ste. Michelle, Northstar has gone on to become a benchmark wine from the Columbia Valley. Winemaker David Merfeld works closely with growers to achieve specific fruit quality and yields. Vines average 15 years old and yield grapes with concentrated varietal flavors of cherry and plum with elegant tannins. Fruit from more than 10 separate vineyards and 14 different blocks contributed to the blend. 78% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot, aged in 90% French oak — 59% new oak barrels — for 18 months with racking occurring at three month intervals. Wine Enthusiast Magazine said "This cool-vintage wine offers restrained notes of toast, dried herbs, vanilla, mocha and blueberry. It's lighter in style than recent vintages, with tart fruit flavors backed by grainy tannins."


External Review
Vintage: 2010 07/17/2014

Scents of chocolate mint, black cherry and polished wood open to brighter Maraschino fruit flavors. This is a bit backward at the moment; cellar, then serve with beef stew.


External Review
Vintage: 2010 07/17/2014

Bright medium red-ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, cassis, licorice, brown spices and menthol. Juicy, intense and tightly wound, showing a distinctly serious structure for merlot. The dark berry and licorice flavors show their cabernet and petit verdot components on the cool, medicinal, youthfully hard-edged finish. The dusty tannins here need time to harmonize.


External Review
Vintage: 2010 07/17/2014

The 2010 Merlot Columbia Valley gives up a fabulous perfume of ripe black fruits, plum, asphalt, licorice, tar and assorted meatiness to go with a full-bodied, seamless and elegant feel on the palate. A blend of 70% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Petit Verdot that spent 18 months in 95% French oak (57% new). it opens up beautifully in the glass, has building tannin and a great finish. It will continue to shine through 2025.


External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
Vintage: 2010 04/14/2016

Tasting Notes: The 2010 vintage has rich concentrated aromas of black cherry, raspberry and cream that lead into flavors of clove, cinnamon and maple. It is a subtle and soft with a lingering toasted oak finish. This wine was created to enjoy now, or for many years to come as it will age gracefully. Enjoy! – David “Merf ” Merfeld, Winemaker Vintage Overview: A cool vintage marked by a mild spring and cool summer, followed by warmer weather during harvest which allowed grapes to ripen to maturity. The cooler weather conditions during the growing season resulted in grapes with optimum ripeness and sugar levels, concentrated flavors, and bright acidity. Vineyards: Diversity of vineyards and sub-appellations within the Columbia Valley are Northstar’s hallmarks. Fruit is selected from the very best possible sources throughout the Columbia Valley. Winemaker David “Merf ” Merfeld works closely with each grower to achieve specific fruit quality and yield parameters. Vines average 15 years old and yield grapes with concentrated varietal flavors of cherry and plum with elegant tannins. Fruit from more than 10 separate vineyards and 14 different blocks contributed to the blend. Winemaking: At harvest, grapes were held separately, destemmed and crushed with 60% whole berries remaining. Grapes fermented on the skins for five to seven days with daily punch downs to extract flavor, colors and fine tannins. The wine was placed into 95% French oak and 5% American oak — 57% of which was new oak barrels — where it underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine aged for 18 months with racking occurring at three month intervals. Blend: 78% Merlot 18% Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Petit Verdot Total Acidity: 0.57g/100ml pH: 3.71 Alcohol: 14.7% ** Only 3 in Stock **


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