Sunday, October 9, 2016

Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2004

Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2004

The question I get asked most often about wine is, what are good values in quality wines? Northstar Merlot is such a value. While many $20-25 wines of the millenium have since doubled or even tripled in price,  Northstar have maintained their price point resulting in a high QPR (quality price ratio) Bordeaux varietal.

I pulled this twelve year old from the cellar to taste with grilled steak dinner. As soon as I pulled the cork the room filled with bright berry fruit and floral aromas. Our Cellartracker records show we hold seven different vintages of this label from the era so it was a great surprise and joy when this greatly exceeded my expectations, rewarding me for the investment, and promising more pleasant drinking to come.

Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2004

Its hard to believe its been five years since my previous tasting of this wine was back in 2011 when I wrote, "Deep dark purple color - medium-full bodied - may be the most expressive Northstar I have had with full burst of black berry, plum and red currant flavors giving way to sweet oak, spice and subtle vanilla with nicely integrated firm but silky smooth tannins. Lots of fine sediment coats the empty bottle. Consistent notes with earlier tastings."

Such it was again tonight except I would add the floral aromatics perfume, the complexity was enhanced by nice balance and smooth silky tannins, highlighted by tones of anise and hints of mocha, much like a left bank Bordeaux, that was not recorded in earlier tastings.  It says a lot about the curve of the drinking window for this wine that seems to be outstanding in its twelfth year.

My 92 point rating for this wine is the highest on record for this label, and a great value at under $30 for a Bordeaux varietal. It also speaks much to the quality of such wines coming from the Columbia Valley in Washington State.

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