2000 La Marraine, Merlot
We have always thought of Washington Merlot as the best produced in America, but never thought we would bottle one as a single variety; we've traditionally used it to add suppleness to our area's structured Cabernets. But 4 barrels of Merlot 2000 stood out during its 14 months in the cellar as something very special: our first varietal Merlot.
The foundation of this wine is the wonderfully deep and fragrant Merlot from Jim Holmes' Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain. Powerful, warm and caressing, it speaks with an authoritative voice every vintage. Three barrels of it made the base of this wine. We blended it with 1/2 barrel of Alder Ridge Vineyard Merlot (loads of berry fruit) and 1/2 barrel Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot (a silky giant). Merlot La Marraine (the godmother) is ripe, sweetly perfumed and enormously satisfying.
We may not make Merlot every year; we'll make that call with every vintage.
75% Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain
13% Alder Ridge, Horse Heaven Hills
12% Seven Hills, Walla Walla
95 cases produced, bottled February 2002