A Wine for Tonight: 2007 Barnard Griffin Merlot (#WAMerlot)

By Kori ~ March 25th, 2010.

Would you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that won’t break your budget and is widely available? Many of our readers have said this is something they would like, so here is this week’s selection, the 2007 Barnard Griffin Merlot from the Columbia Valley of Washington State.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$15
  • Must be widely available

For those who haven’t heard, tonight there is a Twitter tasting featuring Washington Merlot. The brainchild of Josh Wade of Drink Nectar, #WAMerlot (the event’s Twitter hashtag) is a virtual event in which hopefully thousands of people will be simultaneously tasting Washington Merlot and tweeting about it.

Regular readers know that I think highly of Washington Merlot so I am all for an event that will bring attention to both our great state of Washington and this sometimes underappreciated grape. Unfortunately, though, I am unable to participate in tonight’s event (5-7pm PDT) because I am in California at another wine event. Knowing that I would not be able to taste and tweet tonight, the Wine Peeps got together last week while watching the NCAA Tournament to taste through six Washington Merlots that meet the “A Wine for Tonight” criteria of being <=$15 and widely available to determine the best one to recommend to you so that you can participate if you’d like.

We really liked several of the wines but the consensus favorite was the 2007 Barnard Griffin Merlot. Barnard Griffin Winery, located in Richland, Washington, was founded in 1983 by Rob Griffin and his wife Deborah Barnard. Rob moved to Washington State in 1977 to be winemaker for Preston Wine Cellars when there were under ten wineries in the entire state. Shortly after founding Barnard Griffin, Rob left Preston and went to work for Hogue Cellars as winemaker and general manager. In 1991, Rob left Hogue to devote his full time and energy to Barnard Griffin. The current winery and tasting room were built in 1996. Barnard Griffin’s current annual production is approximately 75,000 cases. They are well-known for their distinctive Tulip label which graces all of their non-Reserve wines.

“A medley of vanilla, deep spice, plum and black tea aromas create a pleasing herb/fruit balance. Infused, ripe cherry and vanilla flavors greet the palate followed by mouthwatering acidity. Hints of burnt orange and plum chime in on the long finish. Well paired with lamb or spicy Italian foods.” –Winemaker Rob Griffin

So go to your local wine shop, pick up a bottle of this 2007 Barnard Griffin Merlot or any Washington Merlot, log on to Twitter between 5 and 7pm PDT tonight, and participate in the #WAMerlot event.

And, even if you have no interest in participating in the Twitter event, this is a great bottle to enjoy with tonight’s dinner.

2007 Barnard Griffin Merlot (Columbia Valley, Washington): Ruby red in color. A gorgeous nose with vanilla, licorice, floral, and perfume aromas. Fruit-forward with cherry, plum, and vanilla flavors on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity, soft tannins, and a long finish. Well-balanced.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $13.79; Available elsewhere, $13 to $18

Filed under: A Wine for Tonight, American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Merlot, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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