As a long term resident of the Pacific Northwest, I absolutely love drinking locally. Columbia Valley fruit is always varied, producing top rated wines and decent budget buys. One of my more recent finds is the 14 Hands winery. How could I not love a winery named after wild horses? I’ve had three different wines from them and all have been good but the standout so far is the 14 Hands 2012 Merlot.
The 14 Hands 2012 Merlot comes in at 13.5% alcohol. The wine is 92% Merlot and lightly blended with 8% of other varieties of Columbia Valley fruit from year to year to help preserve their signature style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre & Petit Verdot were selected for this year to help bring the vision of the winemaker to light. This wine was aged in a mix of American and French oak. We chilled the wine to 55 degrees and aerated the wine with our Vinturi. We used standard stemless red wine glasses for tasting AND a Merlot Riedel. When the bottle was opened we got a nice whiff of black fruits and berries. The wine is a deep violet!
The 14 Hands 2012 Merlot showed well in both glasses. The nose was full of black and red fruit; blackberry, cherry, raspberry and a hint of black plum with mocha, milk chocolate, and vanilla in the background. With the stemless glass, the fruit dominated the nose and only a hint of mocha was present. The flavors are very similar with massive amounts of butter. The fruit isn’t really sweet but I wouldn’t call the wine bone dry either. The acidity is low when cooled but perks up when it warms and opens. As the wine warms you get hints of herbs and spice. The tannin is super silky, most people who hate tannin will love this wine. It’s got a nice medium length finish with butter, oak, mocha, and hints of spice. The wine tasted almost identical in both glasses, only the nose made much of a difference in the overall drinking experience. I’ve purchased this wine and not chilled it at all and it was still nice. It’s going to be easy to pair with any lower fat red meats, pasta, pizza, french dip sandwiches, pulled pork and with any dessert. I’d steer clear of fatty dishes as I don’t think it’s going to stand up to the richness or be very refreshing. I could also see it making an excellent match for duck curry.
Overall, this is a great easy going wine. Every person who has had it has liked it, even wine haters. If you love white wine and don’t like reds, try this one. I’ve bought this wine a total of 5 times in 3 months so that should tell you something. The only thing I can knock it for is the finish is a touch shorter than some merlots and it’s not quite as racy in the acidity department as it could be but neither are really flaws. We give this one an 89-point score and two big thumbs up for your next dinner party!
Have you tried the 14 Hands 2012 Merlot? Let us know what you thought!