Wildhaven Columbia Valley Merlot 2015

Ah, merlot, the much derided fruit.

Interesting how that pop culture reference put this grape into the spotlight, in a derisive way not fitting the truth. The truth is that worldwide, merlot is the number 2 planted grape, behind only cabernet sauvignon and ahead of airen, that unknown man of Spain. Importantly in France, merlot is the number one planted grape.

A couple of other points about merlot. First, it’s able to morph in character a lot depending upon where it’s grown. Second, it’s great paired with a big variety of food, with the exception of spicy numbers; they tend to overwhelm merlot’s lower acidity and tannins.

Which brings us to this glass from Washington. The immediate impression is of a hot blueberry pie, crust and all. We can translate that into hot blue fruit and baking spices, which is an enormously good start, don’t you think? That tells us that the grapes were grown in a hot climate, which isn’t quite what we generally think of when we think of the Pacific Northwest…and you’d be wrong. Remember that Washington has two big distinct climates; the damp maritime west of the Cascades, and the dry continental east of them.

So there’s that hot blueberry pie nose, a delicious low-key fruit palate and nice chalky tannin finish. What’s not to like? Fab with non-spiced food and by itself.