Cheers for Merlot from Sawtooth Winery and Canoe Ridge Vineyard

Merlot and Malbec
(Part 3 of a 3-part Series)
By Chuck Hill – Wines Northwest

Each year when I enjoy the fall pairing of sausages, spaetzle and juicy red wines, I marvel at the delicious simplicity of the matchup. Indeed, you can create restaurant-quality fare with a few store-bought ingredients (use pasta if you don’t want to make spaetzle), and enjoy a flavorful wine and food experience.

This week Chef Ted grilled several Aidell’s flavors (they are pre-cooked, just needed browning), and he also grilled pork and potato links and spicy sriracha sausages. His spaetzle of the week included two types of mushrooms and crumbled gorgonzola cheese.

Canoe Ridge Vineyard
2011 Merlot, Reserve
Horse Heaven Hills AVA

Canoe Ridge Vineyard was originally conceived as a specialist in Merlot, and the vineyard above the Columbia River in the Horse Heaven Hills has some of the appellation’s oldest Merlot vines. This wine was blended with 2% Malbec and aged for 20 months in French oak, 33% new. Dark cherry and blueberry dance with flavors of caramel and vanilla with hints of cocoa and spicy oak on the lingering finish.

Sawtooth Estate Winery
2012 Merlot
Snake River Valley AVA

Taking advantage of southern Idaho’s excellent soils and climate, Sawtooth Winery produces a wide variety of wines from the Snake River Valley AVA. The winery was first bonded in 1987 as Pintler Cellars and changed its name to Sawtooth in 1998 to recognize the grandeur of Idaho’s scenic wilderness. Bright cherry fruit greets the nose with nuances of spice and vanilla. The palate is rich with cherry and berry flavors with barrel spice and cherry candy on the finish.

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