Basel Cellars Estate Winery2004 Merlot
Chateau Mouton Rothschild was the inspiration for the winery design at this wine resort, which includes accommodations in the grand lodge and in a Cabana, and estate vineyards that overlook the Walla Walla River.
Perhaps the famous Bordeaux inspired the winemaker, too, who crafted this blend of 84% Merlot [from Canoe Ridge (Horse Heaven Hills AVA) and DuBrul (Yakima Valley AVA) vineyards] and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon from Les Collines in Walla Walla Valley. Only 590 cases were produced so the wine is hard to find, but at $24 a bottle, it is well worth the search if you are a fan of the fruit forward Columbia Valley style Merlots.
Rich, round, and dense, the wine has aromas of chalk, cedar, vanilla, and that classic Columbia Valley blueberry, along with a sensation of high alcohol. On the palate, the flavors are intense, with blueberry, plum, mocha, and caramel notes. This full-bodied wine is fairly hot on the palate as well, so steer clear of spicy dishes when thinking about food pairings. A nice, juicy steak with blue cheese butter would be just the ticket. It is chewy on the finish with evident oak tannins, bright, juicy, refreshing natural acidity, and a slightly bitter espresso note.
Reviewed January 31, 2007 by Catherine Fallis.
Other Awards & Accolades
88 POINTS -- Steven Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
"Full red-ruby. Black raspberry, mocha, dark chocolate and nutty oak on the sweet nose, lifted by a minty nuance. Sweet, soft and lush, with easygoing dark fruit flavors offering considerable early appeal. Finishes with firm, ripe tannins and lingering dark berry flavor."
Founder and President of Planet Grape LLC, a company committed to bringing the joy of wine, food, and good living into the lives of everyday people, Catherine is creator of the “grape goddess guides to good living,” a series of books, television presentations, seminars, and e-learning programs. The fifth woman in the world to become a Master Sommelier, grape goddess Catherine Fallis is still very much down-to-earth.