Bottle Notes, Merlot

2008 Woodward Canyon Charbonneau – Bottle Notes

Located in the Walla Walla Valley appellation of Washington State, Woodward Canyon Winery was started in 1981 by Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small. Woodward Canyon produces almost a dozen different wines, and their Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Chardonnay are some of the very best examples of those varietals produced in Washington State.

The Charbonneau Vineyard is located in northwestern Walla Walla County, high on a bench overlooking the Snake River. 77% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Purple in color. 14.1% ABV. Sensational nose of black fruits, licorice and scorched earth. Very approachable with a silky mouth feel. Medium to full bodied with perfect acidity. Cassis liqueur, black currants, tobacco and toasty oak on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. The high percentage of Merlot in the blend has this drinking in a great place right now when my experience is that many reds from Woodward Canyon need more than just a decade of bottle age. Best over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 92 points.

The reds from Woodward Canyon typically age as gracefully as anything produced in Washington. The current vintage is widely available at retail, at the winery and via the mailing list for right around $75. The winery is also a great first stop as you head into the Walla Walla wine country!

I wrote about Rick Small previously in The Washington Wine Hall of Fame.

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