Saturday, February 28, 2009

BC vs Washington Merlot Battle

I'm part of a wine club, I know that sounds super snobby. We meet once a month at a member's house to redden our teeth and liven our spirits. Last month's challenge was to find the best of BC and set them against the best of Washington, both areas reputed world wide to have respectable merlots. If you are ever looking for something to serve with a full flavoured merlot, I made a salmon wellington topped with a merlot reduction and they were consumed rapidly. Here was the line up:

1. The Hogue(2004) - Signature BCLC(41st Ave) - $14
2. Columbia Crest(2005) - Signature BCLC(41st Ave)- $22
3. Holy Cow(2006) - Brewery Creek Liquor Store - $30

1. Therapy Vineyards(2006) - Firefly - $44
2. Nk Mip Vineyards(2006) - Signature BCLC(41st Ave) - $25
3. Cedar Creek(2006) - Signature BCLC(41st Ave) - $25

We tried two excellent Cab/Merlot blends as well;
1. Super Ego, Therapy Vineyards - BC - Firefly - $44
2. The Hogue(2004) - Washington - Signature BCLC(41st Ave) - $14

Every single one of these wines was really yummy. The interesting thing about Washington merlots is that they pack a surprising punch both in flavour profile and body, moving toward cabernet sauvignon territory. If you are ever in Columbia Valley, Yakima(WA), head for a winery called 2 Mountains and you will experience that bold merlot in spades. BC tends towards more finesse and displays the medium body that is typical of cooler climate viticulture. Therapy vineyards continues to make some of the best BC reds around despite their branding which drives me mad. The pricing on their wines is very prohibitive which is unfortunate. Their super ego, Bordeaux blend, is probably one of my favourite BC reds, buy it for a special occasion.

And now you want to know the winner, if I've kept you reading this long. Well, value for dollar went, hands down, to The Hogue with its chocolate, cherry overtones. It is a new world merlot fit to drink all by itself. But for the best food pairing, Cedar Creek wins the fight, cutting nicely through the rich pastry and buttery salmon with its spicy, cherry oak.

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