Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mercer Estates: Current Releases

In August of 2011 I sat down with Rob Mercer and tasted through the releases that were hitting the market at that time.  Re-reading my notes from that session made me laugh - their marketing guy at the time later emailed me saying that Rob's head had gotten so big he was having a hard time making it through doorways at the office.  But what's remarkable is how similar my impressions are seven vintages later. 

I remain as impressed today as I was back then.  There's also this: in a market inflated by self importance (with pricing to match), Mercer's wines have been fairly steady in their prices, making them even more of a bargain than ever.  If you're looking for a risk free, rock solid brand to seek out  (particularly with the reds), this producer is a no-brainer.  The cabernet gets my strongest recommendation.

NOTE: Prices below are SRP.  There's a good chance you'll find them for less in your market.

2015 Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $15
When you think of the Columbia River Valley, this is perhaps one of the last grape varieties you would think of, but I guess in having it in your portfolio is checking a box of sorts. Anyway, this steely, super light wine gleams in the glass, haloed by a thin green tinted rim. On the palate it is medium bodied and concise with a nice lip-smacking crack of acidity on the finish that suggests compatibility with lighter fare. Not terribly distinctive, but well made.

2015 Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $17
Full-bodied, yet clean and with an oak regimen that complements, rather than overwhelms, the fruit. Very enjoyable, particularly at this price point. Lovers of traditional California chardonnay will find a lot to enjoy here, minus what has become typical flab and excess residual sugar. 

2014 Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $17
The lithe texture comes into focus quickly along with its sultry, voluptuous body. Round and beckoning with undertones of sweet oak and dried berry flavors, the come-hitherness of this crowd pleaser is obvious without being lascivious.  The term "red blend "has been a red herring for overextracted fruit cocktail wines lately, so I tend to avoid them. But I will reach for this one gladly next time there's BBQ to be had.

2014 Cabernet Horse Heaven Hills $17
The first vantage of this wine I tasted was from 2007. At the time I marveled at the quality it delivered at the price point. Several years later, while the packaging may have changed, the experience has not (nor the price!). In the wine world that is nothing short of miraculous. Just as I remembered it, this exuberant red delivers ripe fruit that, while being quite rich, still manages to be elegant. The framework is propped up by firm sweet vanilla oak that keeps you coming back again and again. A marvelous wine with mid term aging potential. Bravo!


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