Stevens Winery 2007 Merlot, Yakima Valley
February 21, 2011 by Erin Thomas
By the power invested in Woodinville veteran winemaker Matt Loso, he pronounced Tim Stevens man and wine in 1998. Upon hiring Stevens to fill the role of assistant winemaker, Loso also encouraged him start producing barrels for his own label.
In 2002, Stevens broke out onto the scene with his wife, Paige, acting as his right arm in their foundation of Stevens Winery. Located next to their good friends and fellow winemakers in the Warehouse District of Woodinville Wine Country, Stevens Winery produces four reds and two white wines, limiting their production to a distinctly artisan level.
Marking their distinction further is their choice location for fruit from Yakima Valley. Although it was Washington state’s first established AVA in 1983, Yakima Valley has caught some flack in the past for its cooler growing season and severe lack of rain. However, 40% of wineries in the state source their fruit from the region and its soils are often compared to that of Bordeaux, France, making it an ideal area for Washington’s claim to fame: Merlot.
The Stevens say they owe much of their success to their growing partners in Yakima, in the case of the 2007 Merlot, DuBrul and Meek vineyard are given all the credit.
With the support of Yakima’s finest, Stevens took on the “bad wrap” of Merlot to prove the negative stereotypes as false assumptions.
The juice spent 20 months in French oak – half new, half once used. This 100% varietal Merlot has humbly taken home acclaim from Robert Parker (90 points), Wine Enthusiast (93 points) and much love from Seattle Time’s Wine Adviser Paul Gregutt.
Stevens defies the prejudices of Merlot and Yakima Valley with a few major qualities:
Backbone: He’s created a recipe for finely-tuned Merlot by lacing the wine with solid French oak for just under two years and sourcing fruit from cooler climate sites that boost dazzling acidity. These characteristics command Merlot to be more than bland fruit.
Sex Appeal: The aromatic richness is rupturing in the glass, which makes it almost intimidating to taste. In the good-God-that-guy-is so-hot-but-I’m-too-chicken-to-talk-to-him sort of way where you know you’re going to because you’re so drawn to him that you have to. Simply put – that’s this wine.
The nose of the wine is filled with violets, lush red fruit and a spicy oak influence of vanilla and nutmeg. It is vibrant and beautiful, feminine but not delicate.
Texture: The mouthfeel is so much more than flavors. The palate is bold in fruit but the touch of the wine is cashmere for your tongue. Silky, savory and succulent this Merlot is a stand alone wine, not necessarily in need of food although it will only get better with a culinary addition.
Considering the release of this wine was over a year and a half ago, the inventory is dwindling with only 140 cases made so if you’re wiping the drool of your face, you should do it fast enough to get a bottle or 12 of this 2007 Merlot from Stevens.