October 2018 Domestic Wine: 2016 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington
Fine Wine Source Wine
David “MERF” Merfeld grew up on a family owned farm in Greene, Iowa, and has had the nickname “MERF” ever since he can remember. In 1990 his brother loaned him $1,000 and he loaded up his car with everything he owned and moved to Seattle. When he first arrived, MERF got a job working at a construction inspection company and started brewing beer as a hobby. In 1996, MERF quit his day job and went into brewing full time while he was attending beer school. In 1997, MERF was hired at Bert Grant’s Ales as a brewer, which was owned at that time by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. When the opportunity arose to apply his knowledge of fermentation science to making wine, he jumped at the chance to become involved in the Washington wine industry. MERF’s background and experience brewing is a unique point of differentiation from other winemakers. “My entire career I’ve been focused on the balance of subtle oak notes with the pure expression of Washington fruit. I want the customer to taste the Washington fruit, since it’s one of the attributes that really sets the Columbia Valley apart from the rest of the world. The unique growing conditions in Washington produce flavorful and approachable wines. At the end of the day, I make wine that I like and that I want to drink and share with friends. I create wines to be enjoyed.” David “MERF” Merfeld
The 2016 vintage experienced the best of both worlds with a hot spring and early summer, but also cool temperatures before and during the harvest. The cooler temperatures in August and September slowed down ripening and resulted in longer hang time for the fruit; consequently, it was the longest harvest on record for WA State (August 15-November 15). The fruit was sourced from vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley in Eastern WA, including Mike Andrews, Mercer Canyons, and Fountain Farm Mgmt. The valley lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mts. and receives just 6-8 inches of rainfall annually. Warm sunny days and cool evening temps create ideal conditions for intense aroma and flavor development in the ripening fruit. The northerly latitude gives the valley roughly 2 more hours of sunlight during the peak growing season than California, increasing the region’s ability to ripen fruit. The grapes were destemmed and inoculated with various yeast strains to maximize complexity. Gentle pump-overs during fermentation were employed to extract color & flavor and produce soft, supple tannins. 75% of the juice was aged for around 12 months in a combination of French & American oak, with the remaining 25% in stainless steel to preserve character & complexity.
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc
The Cabernet Sauvignon is balanced, soft and approachable with flavors of blackberry, vanilla, and subtle spice notes; this wine has silky tannins and a flashy finish—From David “MERF” Merfeld.
BBQ Ribs, Grilled Steak, or a decadent & delicious slice (or two!) of Chocolate Cake!!!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:
Rich & Opulent and loaded with flavors of blackberry and currant. It has an explosive and long finish that makes it best to serve with Ribeye or fatty Steaks!