Washington State's Mercer Wines from Columbia Valley Simply Delight…

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Meet Mercer Wines, a newbie on our radar from Washington’s Columbia Valley. Let’s start with their oh so round and lush 2013 Chardonnay since I’m a huge Chardonnay fan and have rarely met a Chard from northern California or Washington state I haven’t liked. With Mercer’s 2013 Chard, think apples and pears coupled with sweet vanilla and hints of lemon-lime zest. What we loved about this wine is its versatility and the fact that it made a perfect accompaniment to a sauteed chicken dish we had for round one as well as a seafood alfredo dish with creamy onions the second time around. It’s elegant but diverse and is a fun and delicious wine that I’m loving with my new Spring recipes.

A note for those who love even more details: the grapes for this Chardonnay come primarily from Zephyr Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills.

This winery offers a wide selection of choices — from Cab and Red Blend to Chardonnay and Riesling, though we didn’t try them all. While Chardonnay is always on my “must try” visit if a vineyard makes one, we also tend to drink a lot of Cabs and Zin’s around here, particularly when we’re grilling our Elk, Veal and Beef Burgers.

With that grilling visual in mind, let’s move onto Mercer’s scrumptious 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, which had me at hello. Truth be told, we used our Vinturi aerator to open it up a bit faster since we forgot to pop the cork early enough to let breathe before dinner that night.  We paired this deep rich red gem with both a BBQ chicken fresh off the grill and a lean steak with mesquite sauce and lemon pepper. This Cabernet blend, which is made up of 76% Cab, 76% Merlot and 6% Syrah bursted with cassis, red cherries and warm baking spices.

I love bold reds where cassis is a core part of its taste. In this case, individual vineyard lots were fermented separately and barrel aged in a combination of French and American oak for up to 12 months. Barrel aging the wine brings you a lovely warm baking spice taste throughout which only adds to the wine’s overall depth and complexity. Powdery tannins give structure to the wine, while maintaining an elegant, balanced mouthfeel. Of  all of their reds, it was our favorite and the price point is so sweet, after you taste it, you’ll want to order a case — hands down!

 Want a real treat? Then get out the latest lamb recipes you’ve been dying to try and pop up their 2012 Reserve Cavalie Bordeaux Blend – OMG! We love this wine!! It’s main delight is that it surprises and gives you a palette burst you may just not expect. I’m picky about my Merlot’s and am not as versed about Merlot from Washington State as I am from California or frankly for that matter, other parts of the world. The powerful Merlot will bring you ripe blueberries wrapped in the warmth of caramel and coffee.  Oh yeah baby, bring it on! The Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot create a frame of structure, while the Malbec adds suppleness, weight and length.  The majority of the fruit for this Bordeaux Blend is grown at their estate Big Tee Pee Vineyard and Zephyr Ridge Vineyard, both in the Horse Heaven Hills.

I’m relatively new to Washington Merlot! Remember, that it’s much cooler up there than it is in northern California, and traditionally wetter. Remember that surprise I was telling you about? It’s due to the complexity of its blend and the end result is just oh so fine. The wine is made up of 52% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah and 4% Petit Verdot . We paired this with grilled lamb and rosemary which went absolutely beautifully however they also recommend Fillet Mignon, Rack of Lamb, Crepe with Nutella and Strawberries and Vanilla Ice Cream. Oh so yum!

Next up is its 2013 Sharp Sisters Red Blend, which is 47% Merlot, 41% Syrah from Dead Canyon Vineyard and a little Sangiovese just to mix it up a little as well as some Petit Verdot, both from Spice Cabinet Vineyard. Think blackberry, toasted oak, coffee, dark chocolate, jasmine and dark pomegranate. Want more blueberries, plum and caramel? Then, go for their 2012 Sharp Sisters Red Blend, which coming in at a 14.1% has quite the diversity: 40% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 14% Cab, 11% Cabrernet Franc,  3% Sangiovese, 3% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, 1%  Tempranillo and 1% Grenache! Wow, right? It was exquisite!

So, what did we pair it with? We brought it to an open cork night at a local BBQ joint nearby so had it with smoked pulled pork and beef brisket. Their recommendation? Smoked Meats, Texas Style BBQ (Brisket!), Pastas with Red Sauce and Meat Kebabs. How can you go wrong?

What else is worth knowing about this winery that I’ve yet to still visit? It’s beautiful with its lush rolling hills and how can you beat a trip to Washington State? Simply put, it’s beautiful anytime of year!

They have a great tasting room as well. You know what else I love about this winery? The winemaker is a woman: Jessica Munnell, who actually grew up in the heart of Washington wine country and began her career as a viticulturist, working with over 32 growers in Washington. Bravo and a seriously two thumbs up! More details can be found at http://mercerwine.com/ including how to order….and be sure to order a variety – it’s all so so good!

“The terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills creates wines that are balanced and elegant with graceful power and structure.  

These are the reasons that winemakers all over Washington state seek out fruit from the Horse Heavens, and

why I count myself as one of the lucky few who get to work with it exclusively.”

– Jessica Munnell


Mercer Winery

3100 Lee Road
Prosser, WA 99350
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