Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mercer 2013 Sharp Sisters Red Blend 2013, Horse Heaven Hills

Washington State is known for their rich, bold reds. Here we dip into a Merlot-based blend.

Shouldn't We Be Drinking Rosé?

Anyone in Northwest Ohio knows this has been a weird spring. It was damp and cool for the longest time – and now it has plunged full-tilt into summerlike temperatures.

Over the holiday weekend we visited with our good friends and Tasting Team members Cabinator and Glorious T. We enjoyed some shrimp and kabobs and grilled snap peas. We sat on the deck overlooking the pond and it was hot and a bit humid. In short, perfect weather for a crisp, chilled rosé.

However, there is never a bad time for a great wine from Washington State. We decided to be unconventional and put a slight chill on this Mercer Sharp Sisters blend. We were ready for refreshment.

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Horse Heaven Hills – An AVA to Remember

There are hundreds of American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in the US. Each is defined by a unique soil, terrain or other characteristic. Washington State is a wellspring of fantastic wine and some of the most interesting come from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

Horse Heaven Hills is one of the warmest regions in Washington and produces wines that are balanced with powerful elegance. The vineyards of Mercer are located along the Columbia River which moderates temperature extremes and allows for a longer ripening period.

Merlot Has A Leading Role

There certainly is an art to calibrating the proper wine blend. I recall tasting a white blend that had 10 grape varieties. Before sipping, I imagined how incredible it would taste. Unfortunately, with so many cameo appearances by different grapes there was no focus to the wine.

Not so with Sharp Sisters! The blend is 47% Merlot, 41% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Sangiovese and 1% Petit Verdot. Washington State Merlot is special indeed and this Merlot from the Princeton Vineyard is supple with notes of blackberry.
Although the Syrah is a lesser percentage, our quartet felt the power of this brambly, earthy grape.

Sharp Sisters undergoes malolactic fermentation, which converts malic acid into lactic acid and results in a smooth body. Sharp Sisters is aged 20 months in a combination of French and America oak prior to blending.

Upon first sip, the tannins seemed strong, but as the bottle progressed and with some nice steak kabobs, the wine hit is stride and became Smooth Sisters. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest you try this as a summer wine. It is fruit forward and is suitable for patio sipping or a more formal get-together.

The insider tip is to give it a slight chill if your going to be in the hot sun. Put it in the refrigerator for 12 minutes before opening or put it on some ice outside. This is a wine readily available at Toledo area stores at $19.99.

Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

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