2015 Merlot

This Bordeaux inspired blend is seductive, velvety and loaded with personality. Merlot leads, Cab Franc follows, and Cabernet Sauvignon fills in any tiny gaps that are left. This is a thinker’s wine—deep, complex, but less in your face than its cab-led sibling. In the Matthews style, it delivers a lot of power and concentration, but with more nuance than you might expect from new world blends. In Bordeaux, the Merlot-led right bank blends are revered for their nuance. Washington Merlot shares many similarities with the French tradition—more so than with California even—but we’re not striving to copy Bordeaux or Pomerol. We’d rather to pay homage to it while celebrating a grape that is too often (and unfairly) maligned in the new world. This is truly one of the world’s most classic blending styles, with each varietal providing the one small thing that the others are missing to create a remarkably balanced, complex and approachable wine.

Bottle: $57

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"The 2015 Merlot is a blend of 78% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon that was brought up in 69% new French oak. Crème de cassis, violets, a touch of vanilla bean, and incense all give way to a rich, voluptuous, beautifully textured, ripe Merlot that has sweet tannin and a silky, elegant texture. It’s ready to go, yet should keep for at least a decade."

93 - Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com

Tasting Notes

The Matthews Merlot presents with smoky blue and black fruit—plum, blackberry, blueberry—with a resinous, almost leathery undertone. We love to bring out the darker, more brooding side of Merlot, and balance it with the touch of graphite, chocolate and green aromatics from the Cab Franc. This wine has understated tannins and a silky, sensuous texture. It’s too easy to drink, but impossible not to think about. We set out to create a wine that delivers early drinkability, but will continue to show well for 12 years at least, and remain beautifully drinkable through 20 or more.

Wine Facts

Appellation:

Columbia Valley

Vineyard(s):

Dionysus, Bacchus, Hedges Family Estate, Blue Mountain, Pepper Bridge Vineyard

Varietal Composition:

78% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging:

20 Months in 69% New French Oak Barrels

Alcohol:

14.6%

Cases Produced:

373

Drinkability:

Now-2038

Trade Materials

Additional Information about this vintage

Vineyard Philosophy: This wine is very actively engineered in the vineyards. We’re careful to manage yields and limit canopy growth to build concentration, depth and power. We want length and texture, and tannins that are refined but very definitely present. We source primarily from Red Mountain and the Royal Slope, with some of our Cab Franc coming from the southwestern fringe of the Columbia Valley. We look to minimize the herbaceous notes of the Cab Franc, while enhancing the darker, smokier notes in the Merlot.

The Vintage: 2015 was a warm year, to be sure, but everything aligned in such a beautiful, synchronistic way, allowing the fruit to retain freshness despite high temperatures. Many favor this vintage as a truly great one for the Columbia Valley, producing wines with energy and vitality. We are excited about the balance captured in this vintage.

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