With a Combination of Passion & Expertise, Walla Walla and Columbia Valley Vintners are Conjuring Some Magical Wines

By: Anthony Dias Blue

The first time I visited Walla Walla, a small city of about 30,000 in the southeastern corner of Washington State, was in 1984, the year the region was recognized by the federal government as a unique winegrowing appellation. There were four wineries and about 60 acres of vineyard at the time. Today Walla Walla is home to more

than 100 wineries and 1,800 acres of vines. The Walla Walla Valley is particularly well-suited to the growing of Bordeaux

varieties, particularly cabernet sauvignon and merlot. It also has proved to be equally hospitable to syrah. All the wines produced in this fertile valley have depth, balance and finesse but—if I had to choose—I would have to bestow the “best of” crown on merlot. I think the region—and the nearby Columbia Valley—make the most profound and classic merlots produced in America.

HERE ARE 11 STRIKING MERLOTS THAT ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE:

Balboa 2009 Merlot, Columbia Valley $18

Cadaretta 2007 Merlot, Columbia Valley $35

L’Ecole No. 41 Winery 2008 Estate Merlot, Walla Walla Valley $37

L’Ecole No. 41 Winery 2007 Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley $36

Leonetti Cellar 2008 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley $70

Northstar 2006 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley $52

Pedestal 2007 Merlot, Columbia Valley $55

Pepper Bridge Winery 2008 Merlot, 51% Seven Hills Vineyard, 49% Pepper Bridge Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley $50

Seven Hills Winery 2008 Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard – Walla Walla Valley $28

Tertulia Cellars 2007 Merlot, Pepper Bridge-Walla Walla Valley $30

Three Rivers Winery 2007 Merlot, Champoux/Horse Heaven Hills Vineyard – Columbia Valley $29

Woodward Canyon 2007 Merlot, Columbia Valley $30