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Northstar 2009 Premier Merlot Columbia Valley
- 90 points
- The Wine Advocate - April 05, 2013
Representing the inauguration of a luxury 100% Merlot bottling designed to showcase whatever fruit seems most special in a given vintage, Northstar’s 2009 Premier won’t be released until autumn, 2013, and represents a mere 190 cases. Sourced entirely from a 1985 block on Cold Creek – an old Merlot from which inspired Merfeld to this project – it was fermented and raised in very similar manner to its Walla Walla sibling, inter alia with half new barrels, though these were specially chosen and the wine stayed in them a few extra months. “I want this thing to have the chemistry behind it,” proclaims Merfeld ambitiously while pointing to the wine’s relatively low pH, “to age 20 or 30 years.” There is a sweet-smoky, not unattractively reductive suggestion of machine oil in the nose that I more often associate with Cabernet Franc. Dark, piquantly pit-tinged cherry and earthy beet root rise from the glass behind that note, and inform a palate tingling with tartness that would have come as a surprise had the winemaker not advertised in advance low pH. Glycerol and berry-sweetness help balance the tartness, and there is an undeniable invigoration to this wine’s sustained finish, though it is accompanied by slightly gum-numbing tannins. Could this, as its author suggests, be comparable to certain long-lived Washington Merlots from the 1980s? It’s an intriguing question that only time can settle, but I’d point out, just for one potentially significant difference, that 14.6% alcohol would probably have been viewed as downright unthinkable back then.
Northstar 2009 Merlot Columbia Valley
- 92 points - Cellar Selection
- Wine Enthusiast - April 01, 2013
The vines from which the fruit for this wine were sourced are, on average, 15 years old. Aged primarily in French oak, this concentrated wine shows fine depth, with an emphasis on black cherry and cassis flavors. Full and ripe, this well-structured effort has the balance and polished tannins to be cellared for a decade, at least.
Northstar 2009 Merlot Walla Walla Valley
- 91 points
- Wine Enthusiast - April 01, 2013
Production of this Merlot was further dampened in 2009 by an early freeze. But the quality is as good as ever, which is apparent in the pretty core of strawberry, raspberry and red plum flavors. Aging in 55% new French oak gives the fruit a Bourbon-soaked appeal as it rolls onto the rich finish streaked with dark chocolate.
Northstar Merlot Columbia Valley
- Bottlenotes - February 20, 2013
A great place to begin exploring the merlots of Washington state is Northstar, a boutique winery under the Chateau Ste. Michelle umbrella with the sole purpose of sourcing the best merlot from more than a dozen vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley and blending the fruit into a wine that showcases the finer points of the region and variety. The blend includes merlot from Red Mountain, Cold Creek, Horse Heaven, Yakima and Walla Walla. The Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot is deep purple with aromas of blueberries, plums, white pepper, anise, and smoke, a gentle tannic grip and bright acidity. It is a hearty wine best served with rotisserie chicken, lamb, barbeque or well-seasoned chili.
Northstar 2008 Merlot Walla Walla Valley
- ColoradoSprings.com - February 07, 2013
The 2008 Merlot Walla Walla Valley ($50) loads up on black fruits and cherries, tobacco and chocolate, accented with a smoky, woodsy note. Similar intense flavors follow with added oak and spice, a solid structure and strong but accessible tannins.