I've not been, in general, a fan of Merlot. Again, most of the Merlot I've tried has been from California, and I'm discovering the provenance of a wine makes an enormous difference. I've decided to go ahead and try Merlot; after all, I was pleasantly surprised by Chardonnay. I've not as yet been disappointed in any of Columbia Crest's Two Vines wines, and trying their Washington Merlot struck me as a reasonable introduction. And of course, the fact that Two Vines, Grand Estate wines, and Horse Heaven Hills, the three tiers of Columbia Crest wines, are all currently on sale at Fred Meyers doesn't hurt.
A lovely crimson in the glass, with dark highlights. There's a nice impression of blackberries on the nose. Plum more than blackberry at first, but later, I noticed more blackberry in flavor. This is quite nice, though more fruit forward, than the Crane Lake Merlot. The second glass was better still after about forty minutes. There's something that reminds me a little bit of dark bittersweet chocolate, but my general impression of the wine is that it's mellow, rather than oaky. We were inspired to have a second class with dessert, Lindt Excellence Sea Salt chocolate. It's an absolutely fabulous pairing, one I plan to repeat. We purchased this bottle of Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot for $5.99 at Fred Meyers.