The September installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2006 Washington Merlot. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle this coming weekend and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.
2006 was a better than average vintage in Washington. The Summer was hotter than normal with the exception of September when some mild temps and rain moved in. October was dry and sunny with moderate temperatures, allowing longer hang time when needed. Reds with the the right balance of tannic structure and acid appear to be aging exceptionally well. That being said, as the vintage approaches 10 years of age, I do think the time is right to visit these wines if you have them in your cellar.
2006 Quilceda Creek Merlot – The 2006 Merlot contains 9.5% Cabernet Franc and 2.5% Petit Verdot. Purple-colored, it offers up an expressive nose of cedar, cinnamon, cassis, and black currant. This is followed by a rich, smooth-textured, savory wine with outstanding density and grip. Nicely balanced and lingering on the palate, it will continue to unwind for several more years and offer peak drinking from 2013 to 2021. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.
2006 Cayuse Flying Pig – The 2006 Flying Pig is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. Baron’s take on Cheval Blanc, the wine was sourced from yields of 1.3 tons per acre. It offers up a sexy bouquet of mineral, Asian spices, incense, black cherry, and black currant. Full-bodied but light on its feet, this complex effort is hard to resist now but will easily evolve for another 5-7 years due to its impeccable balance. Drink this pleasure-bent wine from 2015 to 2026. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
2006 Leonetti Merlot – The 2006 Merlot has 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Carmenere, and 4% Petit Verdot in the blend. It was aged in a mix of new and used barrels for 15 months. It is dark ruby/purple-colored with aromas of cedar, earth notes, clove, cinnamon, red currants, and black currants. This leads to an elegant wine with ripe, savory flavors, good depth, and a lengthy, pure finish. It will evolve for 3-4 years and be at its best from 2012 to 2020. 91 points from the Wine Advocate.
I admittedly took some liberty by including the Flying Pig which in ’06 had more Cabernet Franc than Merlot. This does fluctuate though and is about as close to Merlot as Christophe Baron is ever likely to get.
Which 2006 Washington Merlot Should I Open?
- 2006 Cayuse Flying Pig (47%, 16 Votes)
- 2006 Leonetti Merlot (38%, 13 Votes)
- 2006 Quilceda Creek Merlot (15%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 34
Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the October installment of Pick My Next Bottle.
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3 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2006 Washington Merlot”
Don’t know any of these three candidates but I suspect the Cayuse will always drink earlier than either Quilceda Creek or Leonetti mostly because of the winemaker’s style in how he/she makes the wine. Thus, my pick is the 06 Cayuse Flying Pig. Cheers Tom!
Flying Pig, been drinking a lot of cab franc lately.
The Leonetti is more likely to find its way into my clutches then the other two choices. I would like to read your tasting notes.