For casual sipping wine with some cheese during the midweek, I pulled from the cellar this Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot. We've been drinking this label for more than a decade for reasonable QPR casual sipping for a Bordeaux varietal. We gained increased appreciation for labels such as this from our two trips to Washington State this summer where we explored and discovered several Bordeaux varietals from the Columbia Valley that provide high quality at reasonable prices relative to their California or Old World, French peers.
We passed by or near Northstar Winery during our recent Walla Walla Wine Experience 2018 and will definitely schedule a visit there on our next visit to the area.
Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot 2008
According to my Cellartracker records for this label, we hold a dozen and half bottles from eight different vintages dating back to the milenium. I normally would pull from the older or oldest vintages in such cases for effective cellar vintage management. Tonight, I simply selected the label and pulled a bottle when I saw I still had multiple bottles from the vintage.
I opened several cheeses and crackers to accompany the wine and found the old aged sharp cheddar to go especially well, as well as he creamy havarti.
Tonight's tasting was fairly consistent with my last tasting note for this wine which was six years ago back in 2012, when I wrote:
"This 2008 is a bit tight and closed, not as smooth, polished and fruit filled as some earlier vintages of this wine that I remember - perhaps due to its age or period in its aging profile. This is medium to full bodied, with dark inky color, this is a bright, balanced wine with notes of black cherry, tobacco, spice box and nut leading to a long, smoky moderate tannin finish."
Tonight's rating, RM 88 points is consistent with what I gave it back at that time.