Okanogan Estate & Vineyards2003 Merlot
This is the only winery found on the U.S. side of the Okanagan Valley. Located in the north central Washington town of Oroville, the winery is also known as Gold Digger Cellars as Oroville was once a gold mining town. Five minutes to the north is the Canadian border and British Columbia’s burgeoning Okanagan Valley wine region.
Michael P. Buckmiller is winemaker at Okanogan Estate. Vines are planted in well-drained, gravelly, sandy loam soil on southeast facing benches near the shores of Lake Osoyoos. The valley has a unique microclimate with high UV, cool lake breezes, and diurnal variation, giving a long, beneficial growing season.
This Merlot is a bright, well-saturated ruby with an opaque purple center. It has aromas of sweet oak, mocha, dark chocolate, blueberry, currant, raisin, and fig butter. Full, ripe, and oaky on the palate, it is creamy and opulently textured. Generous oak and ripe fruit are well-integrated. It is very well balanced with supple tannins, and a very long finish. Serve with seared tuna steak with mushrooms, pork loin with a cherry/balsamic reduction, or with thick chunks of Port Salut cheese.
Reviewed February 6, 2007 by Catherine Fallis.
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.