2016 Matthews Reserve Merlot

This Bordeaux inspired blend is seductive, velvety and loaded with personality. In classic 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. This is truly among the world’s archetypal blending styles, with each varietal providing the one small thing that the others are lacking in order to create a remarkably balanced, complex and approachable wine. The Matthews Reserve Merlot is achieved through careful barrel selection which allows us to produce the ultimate expression of Merlot in Washington State.

Bottle: $57


"The 2016 Merlot Reserve (91% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc) offers lots of red and black fruits as well as notes of chocolate and spice in a plump, rounded, flamboyant style that's a joy to drink. This sumptuous, medium to full-bodied effort has subtle background oak, no hard edges, and a great finish."

93 points - Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com

Tasting Notes

Sultry and rich, with smoky raspberry and herbs, dried strawberry and plum puree with caramelized sugar. Swirling brings up intoxicating notes of currants, plum skin, strawberry, lightly roasted coffee and fresh crème. The palate has great volume with fresh red fruits and spice buffered by incredibly tactile tannins that stretch the palate out forever. Simply stunning.

Scores & Reviews

"Coming from a barrel selection, it has aromas of freshly brewed coffee, raspberry, sandalwood, fresh herb and pencil lead forming the core. Exquisitely balanced flavors follow, with the rich texture and velvety tannins heightening the appeal. It should have a long life ahead of it."
- Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast

"Deep medium ruby. Lively scents of blackberry, blueberry, licorice, herbs and graphite. A distinct step up in sweetness from the basic 2016 Merlot bottling, offering a silky texture but also excellent precision and floral lift to the fruit-driven flavors of redcurrant, raspberry, blueberry and spices. This suave, energetic, fine-grained wine finishes with noble tannins and excellent floral persistence. Very clever use of some Cabernet Franc here!"
- Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

"Blended with 9% Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Merlot Reserve Columbia Valley begins with a red-fruited heart with a deep concentration of fruit, oak and subtle elements of smoked herbs and delicate red flowers that waft out of the glass. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is clean and correct, with the firm mid-palate that delivers rich, ripe and slightly tart fruits compounded by oak spices and a thoughtful structure with lifting tannins. Flavors of plum and dusty chocolate line the mouth on the long, lingering finish. 1,410 cases produced. This is a tasty Merlot."
- Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate

Wine Facts

Labeled Appellation:

Columbia Valley


Dionysus, Bacchus, Hedges, Pepper Bridge

Varietal Composition:

91% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc


65% concrete, 35% stainless steel, aged in 71% new French oak for 20 months



Cases Produced:




Trade Materials

Additional Information about this vintage

The Vintage The past several years have seen hotter and hotter temperatures. The difference in 2016 was that there was extremely early budbreak throughout the state, meaning temperatures were warm from the get–go. That being said, temperatures did not peak as high as 2015. Early spring was warmer, so it looked like it might be a scorcher, but then it stayed moderate. If you look at the technical data for 2016, growing degrees seemed high, but that doesn’t consider a longer growing season. This stretched-out growing season saw cooler temperatures in the fall, which can be described as a Napa Valley style of weather.

Harvest After a long growing season, harvest began early morning in September and continued through October 20th. We are excited about the freshness captured in this vintage. Heat levels were consistent, with cooler temperatures in the evening, and the fruit maintained its ability to produce wines with energy, freshness and vitality.

All of our wines are hand harvested, picked during the colder hours of the early morning and delivered to the winery immediately. We drop fruit in the vineyard during veraison to ensure the proper fruit yields for each block. We also do most of our cluster sorting in the vineyard. This allows the fruit to arrive at the winery without needing much additional sorting.

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