PICK of the RACK: Obelisco Estate | Merlot | Reserve | Red Mountain | Washington | 2009 | $45 | 92 pts

Aromas: cinnamon and spice; cherry; plum; hint of vanilla
Character: medium-bodied & lively; old world style; light to medium tannins & acidity; toasty oak
Flavors: true to aroma, with deep red berries, spice, earth tones and cedar
Food Pairing:  tomato-based pasta dishes; pizza; lamb

Obelisco Estate is located in the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area (AVA) in eastern Washington State, an area marked by a dry, arid climate, significant daytime-nighttime temperature variations, and rocky, volcanic soils — conditions that produce some of the most sought after wine grapes in the state.  Founder & Owner Doug Long came to Red Mountain after decades of crafting award-winning wines in Napa Valley, and he now operates a 30-acre vineyard on sun-drenched, southwest facing slopes.  Doug’s vineyard is designed to maximize the advantages of Red Mountain’s pitch-perfect terrior, and this Merlot exemplifies the superior quality wine that results.  This wine is actually a Merlot-driven blend of several red varieties that flourish in the Red Mountain AVA, consisting of 75% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and 5% Syrah.  It’s a lively red, vivid and pure, with aromas and flavors evoking ripe red berries — especially cherries, cinnamon and baking spices, and cedar-tinged oak.  It’s bright, zingy character makes it a confident match with Italian dishes, semi-sharp cheeses, and lamb.

Obelisco Estate Vineyards

Availability:  Obelisco Estate produced only 258 cases of the 2009 Reserve Merlot, so it may be a bit difficult to locate.  Ask your favorite wine merchant if she/he can order it, or order it directly from the winery by visiting them virtually at www.obelisco.com or calling them at 425-485-2472.

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