I can remember sampling one of my first bottles of Northstar Merlot. Taken from the absolutely awesome 2003 vintage, this wine was silky smooth, layered and polished. The wine needed quite some time in the decanter to settle. As I poured the wine I got that lovely chocolate and dark fruit notes. It was a dense treat, a truly memorable bottle that I enjoyed with my closest friends from graduate school. Located in Walla Walla, Northstar is one of the only Washington wineries that focuses its program on crafting high quality Merlot. The Merlot wines are hugely dense, tannic and need time in the bottle to fulfill their potential. Northstar releases their wines on the later side because of the dense flavors and tannins that these wines provide.
For many years Northstar has relied on the talents of head winemaker David Merfeld. David crafts some powerful wines, even in challenging vintages like 2010 and 2011. The new releases were all outstanding, none less so than their 2013 Northstar ‘Columbia Valley’ Merlot (WWB, 92) which showed wonderful complexity and weight from this warm vintage. Learn more about these awesome wines at Here are the great new releases by Northstar.
2013 Northstar ‘Columbia Valley’ Merlot- This great Merlot crafted by head winemaker David Merfeld is sourced from 10 different vineyards and 15 different lots in the Columbia Valley. The inky colored wine begins with aromas of coconut, black tea and black olive with mocha accents. Highly structured, this warm vintage wine shows off black olive, black cherry syrup and boysenberry jam flavors. Decadent and delicious, with lovely fruit weight, this great showing will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2017-2027- 92
2013 Northstar ‘Columbia Valley’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2013 Northstar ‘Columbia Valley’ Cabernet Sauvignon was largely aged in French oak (50% new) prior to bottling and includes a touch of Merlot in the blending. There is a light herbaceousness with red bell pepper aromatics that connect with dark fruits and Turkish coffee. Silky smooth on the mid-palate, the wine reveals dark fruit flavors with milk chocolate shavings and sagebrush. Generous and plush, this is another outstanding release by Northstar. Drink 2017-2027- 92
2013 Northstar ‘Red Blend Walla Walla Valley’ Red Wine- This great wine is a blend of 63% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc which was aged for 21 months in 50% new French oak prior to bottling. Sourced from the Minnick Hills and Anne Marie Vineyards, this wine opens with a ripe bouquet of milk chocolate, blackberry pie and coffee grounds. The texture and softness of this wine is outstanding. Blackberry jam, cassis, and milk chocolate flavors come to mind. Downright delicious, this layered effort will cellar well over the next decade but is nearly impossible to resist right now. Drink 2017-2027- 92