Hogue Merlot (Washington 2006)

In the spirit* of the season, I thought I’d share wines from places where it actually gets cold. Like snowing and freezing and closing the roads cold. This week, I bring you a lovely Merlot from the Columbia Valley of Washington State, where it gets really cold. And windy.

In my extensive travels to the Pacific Northwest over the past several years, I drank several excellent wines from Hogue Vineyards, all very good. The Merlot and Pinto Grigio were my favorites, by far. The Merlot in particular is above average for an $8 wine. AND it’s a screw-top, so bonus points for that.

We begin with the fragrance of herbs and oak, and the first sip is fruity and juicy. You might be surprised by the slightly licorice taste accompanied by wonderful dark cherry flavors. (The cherries are no surprise given the quantity and size of orchards in the region.) You’ll also taste that lovely, smooth oak, a little pepper, and gentle tannins. It’s an all-around delicious wine.

I’m going to serve it with New York steaks and a big salad, but it would go great with pot roast or meat loaf. Just a delicious wine for comfort food.

Now for the audience participation portion of our program: which wines from really cold places to enjoy? Remember the rules. Wines below $12, available at your local grocer or liquor store, bonus points for boxes and screw-tops. If I can find your recommendation at the places I frequent, I’ll review it here!

* Spirit of the Season. Spirit! Get it? Ha! (Hi Mom!)

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6 Responses to Hogue Merlot (Washington 2006)

  1. Jeff Tryka says:

    Well, I am a big fan of Washington and Oregon wines given that I lived there for a number of years, but I might be challenged by the $12 cap! I am a huge fan of L’ecole 41 out of Walla Walla, so many great wines, but they are more expensive (though the Recess Red is awesome and with the wine club discount can be had for only $15 or so). Also a fan of Seven Hills Vineyard out of Walla Walla. As for your cold $12 challenge, I imagine there are some places in California that get cold, and I really like the Keesha Vineyards Lodi Petite Sirah 2008 that I got last summer for $10, also from Washington is the 14 Hands Cabernet which we have here for $12 per bottle (and it has a cool label too with an artistic rendering of a horse).

  2. Knighton says:

    Hello again, Jeff!

    I spent a couple years traveling in Washington and learned to love the wine there. Desert Winds is one of my favorites, south of Yakima and across the highway from Hogue. If you haven’t been there yet, it’s a must. Try the Ruah if they have it available!

    The 14 Hands is usually available at my grocer, so I’ll grab a bottle and get it on the BWC. I haven’t seen the Keesha Vineyards Petite Sirah, but I’ll be on the lookout and will certainly try it if I find it. Thanks for the recommendations!

  3. Jeff Tryka says:

    No problem, I saw your blog based on the snooth article and yours was the inspiration for me starting my own wine blog, so thanks!

  4. Knighton says:

    Excellent! Leave a link, we’ll check it out.

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  6. Jeff Tryka says:

    Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve visited, but in response here is a link to by blog:


    Better 18 months late than never!

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