Friday, December 8, 2017

Mercer Trio Delivers Value And Flavor From Atop Horse Heaven Hills

Mercer Horse Heaven HillsThe Mercer family settled in southwestern Washington in 1886. For more than a century they’ve been stewards of the land in what is now the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

Family Tradition

The Mercer family has a long tradition of family farming that spans five generations. Our family has a tradition too. For holidays like Thanksgiving we get together, cook way too much food, watch football and generally have fun.

This year it was our turn to host the holiday festivities in our new home in North Carolina’s Triangle area. We had plentiful poultry and also volumes of vino. Our holiday entertaining was made easier by a threesome of wines from Mercer.

Heaven For Horses – And Wine Lovers

Washington state has huge wine regions. Columbia Valley alone has 33,000 acres under vine (some does edge over into Oregon). Mercer has large holdings totaling 2,000 acres in Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley. In Horse Heaven Hills, Mercer vines represent 18% of the total plantings.

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We’ve been devoted fans of Horse Heaven Hills for many years. It’s the home of many of the state’s top rated wines. The steeply sloped hills and tempering wines create just the right environment for flavorful grapes.

As part of our Thanksgiving gathering, the Green Dragon’s sister was visiting. This was the perfect opportunity to uncork the 2015 Mercer Sharp Sisters Blend. The bottle has a photo of Carma Sharp-Mercer and her sisters. Our present day sisters gave two thumbs up to this blend of 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah, 18% Merlot, 14% Petit Verdot, 10% Grenache and 2% Carignane.

Taming The Wild Boar

The Merlot for the blend comes from Dead Canyon Vineyard and the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Eagle & Plow Vineyard, which is the source for Mercer’s new ultra premium wine. This wine offers ripe blackberries with a dash of vanilla. Like many Washington state reds, it overdelivers with delicious fresh fruit flavors.

We enjoyed the Sharp Sisters with a wild boar sausage, mushroom and cheddar appetizer. The pairing was spot on.

The 2015 Mercer Malbec comes from the acclaimed Spice Cabinet Vineyard. It has 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and offers more complexity than expected with earthy tones and coffee interwoven with lush blackberry. The wine gets 18 months in a blend of old and new French oak and malolactic fermentation to a lush, full body.

The 2015 Mercer Sauvignon Blanc was enjoyed as we recovered from the weekend full of holiday guests. The wine is yellow-green in the glass with a grassy aroma. While the wine is crisp and refreshing, the flavor profile was much different than expected. It veered more toward the grapefruit and less toward the tropical fruit. It is bright with good acidity and was an enjoyable wine for unwinding.

This trio is part of the Mercer Estates range, the mid-level for Mercer. The Malbec and Sharp Sisters retail for $25 and the Sauvignon Blanc for $12. The wines are an appealing value. In particular, the Sharp Sisters was a favorite of ours. It’s a wine worthy of a multi-bottle purchase and could become your “go to” red.

Full Disclosure: These wines were received as a marketing sample.

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