Northwest Cellars 2005 Yakima Valley Merlot
October 10, 2009 by Erin Thomas
*Bottle #76: Northwest Cellars 2005 Yakima Valley Merlot
*Price Tag: $15
*Running Tab: $1,065
Ed Hardy makes wine now.
Like designer Christian Audigier who branded tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy’s work as a “lifestyle of street couture.” Like the clothing that Madonna wears to Starbuck’s and Kanye frequents on his head.
Like the wine that now sits on grocery store shelves with the same skin-tagging label as the trucker hats only the coolest kids of the early millennium wore.
Not only does Ed Hardy produce several wines boasting a fringy slogan – “Crazy about the bottles. Serious about the wine.” – but anyone can now order award-winning wine to the custom-designed label of their choice.
Yes, that’s right, folks, according to founder and winemaker of Northwest Cellars, Bob Delf, wine is “now getting personal.”
Northwest Cellars produces and distributes local wines with custom-designed labels. The wines are tasted from the barrel, selected at the peak of quality they seek and then bottled for any paying customer, be it for Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant’s house red, Pike Place Market or a 50th birthday party.
The concept is unique, but tiptoeing over the border of cheesy and legit.
Bob’s wines have received nods under the Northwest Cellars label from wine competitions, magazines and some of the Seattle’s most prestigious grape gurus.
The winemaker’s back story is that of an old world French wine négociant. In other words, he was a wine merchant who brought together growers and winemakers and thus created a wine under one label and sold under the name of the négociant.
Other than the fact that he jumped over the pond and traveled a few miles, Bob seems to be doing the same thing in the great Northwest.
With the Northwest Cellars 2005 Yakima Valley Merlot, Bob brought together the grower’s produce from Olsen Estates, Roza Ridge and 3 Rocks Vineyards to squeeze the juice of 75% Merlot, 13% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes into one.
In classic Merlot fashion, this star shone at the Seattle Wine Awards with the “Grand Award of Excellence” and was textbook of the varietal.
Candied cherries, red berries, violets and cola seeped over the sweet oak on the nose with a approachable aromatics. Predictable yet comfortable, the sweet fruit perfume was lush and protruded spice after some time in the room.
A sweet, vanilla extract-filled attack with a mid-palate full of cherries and fig, balanced with acid and easy, yet effective tannins. The finish falls a little shorter than I was hoping it would, but still fruitful, spice-driven and lightly gripping.
A comfortable and palatable Washington Merlot for $15. I think the only thing that denotes this wine is the idea that I could purchase the same exact wine and slap an “Erin F’ing Rocks” sticker on the front.
Which could be pretty awesome.