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Varietal Challenge - Merlot: Washington versus California

  • Feb 22, 2013 · 6:30 PM
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Merlot is the most popular and widely planted wine grape varietal in France, reaching its true zenith of expression in Bordeaux wine. Around the world, it’s the fifth most planted wine grape

The grape earned its moniker from its eye catching, dark, blue color. Merle in French is translated into a blackbird, which could be taken to reference either the color or the birds fondness for the sweet flavored, thin skinned grape.

In character, Merlot offers flavors of chocolate, plums, licorice, black cherries, blueberries, black raspberries and blackberries as well as jam, which depends on the levels of ripeness the fruit was allowed to achieve. It is round, fleshy and can be opulent in texture.

There are distinct differences between merlots of California, older vines and decades longer winemaking legacy, but Washington state grows great merlots, lets see the differences between the two, can you tell the difference? Do you prefer one over the other?

Let's coordinate by having equal amounts of bottles from California and Washington state.

  • Let's try for vintages from years 2008 and 2010.
  • Price and AVA's within the states are your choice.
  • If you are a couple, one brings wine, the other a snack to share, perhaps.

Join or login to comment.

  • Wine T.

    Sorry I missed this but I was home with a sore throat and fever.

    February 28, 2013

  • Kelly C.

    Nice meeting everyone

    1 · February 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Consensus: We enjoyed them equally, and enjoyed the challenge!

    1 · February 23, 2013

  • Pam

    Three of us will be an hour late so please save us a taste out of any that are getting low ;). Please

    February 22, 2013

  • Kelly C.

    Bringing a CA wine to the party

    February 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    On the hook for a late release to production at work

    February 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    My sinusitis is fighting hard to hang on, and I can tell I am not on track to be passably well by Friday. So I must withdraw.

    February 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I knowwhat you are talking about, I'm still trying to get over it, should be on track to taste some great wines by Friday.Sorry you will miss it.Thanks for RSVPing update, this means a lot to the hostess.

      February 21, 2013

    • Sarah N.

      OK, change of plans, bring a CA one instead!

      February 21, 2013

  • JaCinda

    Sorry. I'll have to bow out. Have fun!

    February 21, 2013

  • Ella N.

    Working that evening. Wish I could be there! Maybe next time. If you're free Saturday, 2-5 pm, come by Wine World for an Oregon tasting!

    February 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looks like we could use a few California merlots to represent. But whatever hits our table, I know we will be enjoying them.

    February 21, 2013

  • Sarah N.

    I will probably bring a WA merlot.

    February 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Nope, the sinusitus is winning.

    February 20, 2013

  • Dee T.

    We have an '09 Red Mountain Reserve Merlot we will bring.

    February 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm in Calif now bringing home a merlot from here. Declare your offerings!

    February 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Saying Yes now but if I get picked to be on the release team that night I won't be able to attend.

    February 11, 2013

  • Pam M

    Sounds like fun!

    February 5, 2013

  • Wine T.

    I'll bring a Washington Merlot 2008 Old Vine

    February 3, 2013

  • Dee T.

    Sounds fun

    January 21, 2013

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