Mercer Estates – Washington’s 2016 Winery of the Year

The Mercer family has been farming and raising gapes for over 125 years. Since the late 1800s the family has raised a variety of crops and livestock in the famed Horse Heaven Hills of Washington State. (Horse Heaven Hills was so named by a cowboy in early days, when the lush grass in the middle of the area was accessible only to the wild horses.) The Mercers were encouraged by none other than Dr. Walter Clore, the Father of Washington, to plant the first grapes in Horse Haven Hills in 1972. Today, Horse Haven Hills is responsible for about 25 percent of the state’s total wine grapes.

Balloon Rally, Mercer Estates

Hot air balloons from a recent rally over the Mercer Wines estate.

For 30 years the Mercers were known as grape growers and sold to grapes to many of the most sought-after wineries in Washington. In 2005, the family decided to venture in to winemaking through their entity Mercer Estates. The winery was built in 2007. Today, Mercer is known for their impressive portfolio of award-winning wines. They manage about 500 acres of vineyards and still sell over half of their grapes but keep the best for their estate wines.

In 2011, Jessica Munell took the helm as winemaker for the family. Jessica brings an amazing amount of winemaking knowledge and expertise. Jessica began her career as a viticulturist for Chateau St. Michelle Wine estates in 2000, working with St. Michelle gave Jessica the opportunity to work with 32 different growers, and she developed a comprehensive knowledge of the regions sub-climates and soils.

In 2003 she left for Australia to work with Bleasdale Vineyards. She came back to Washington in 2008 and returned to Chateau St. Michelle, but as the assistant winemaker. In 2011 she accepted the position at Mercer Estates. The wines have continued to flourish under Munell’s lead and have even grown more in depth in our opinion.

Rob and Will Mercer believe in carrying on the family legacy. They respect their family commitment to land stewardship which began in the 1800s, and they believe it is their responsibility to preserve and protect the land that their ancestors farmed. They believe in sustainability and conservation through water management, soil and fertility management, waste management and research. They believe they must not only have a commitment to practicing organic farming but also to going beyond organic farming practices.

“We practice farming with balance. Every decision we make, every day of the year with regards to our agricultural practices incorporates balance. There is always the possibility of adding too much or giving to little when nurturing a plant to produce its highest quality and most-abundant fruit. Balancing the care of the plant today with the care of the ecosystem that it thrives in from year to year always weighs heavily on our minds.”

Good words from Rob Mercer. The wines for the week are:

Mercer Estates, Pinot Gris :: $18 sale $15

This Pinot Gris opens with aromas of peach, melon and honeysuckle. Ripe fruit flavors continue in the palate. The natural balance of fruit and acidity has created a wine that is lush and full, with a fresh, bright finish and a hint of minerality.

Mercer Estates, Mercer Canyons Chardonnay :: $18 sale $15 

Notes of vanilla, creamsicle, juicy pear and pineapple greet you on the nose. The voluminous fruit continues in the mouth with flavors of sweet pineapple juice and fresh pear with a drizzle of butter. The lush fruit is balanced by clean, bright acidity that leads into a long, lingering finish.

Mercer Estates, Cabernet Sauvignon :: $20 sale $15 

Aromas of black cherry, dark plum, and blackberry jam are elevated with hints of brown sugar, clove and cocoa. The lush fruit continues in the palate, contributing to the round and full mouthfeel. Well integrated oak and sleek tannins lead into a velvety finish with a nice touch of acidity on the end. This Cabernet Sauvignon is a lovely balance of power and grace.

Mercer Estates, Horse Heaven Hills Malbec :: $26 sale $21

Aromas of dark plum and concentrated blackberry jam are linked with notes of mint. Warm baking spices, purple lavender and cocoa add to the complexity of the aromas. The dusty tannins create a round, full mouth that leads into a sleek, lingering finish. This wine has captured a beautiful balance of powerful fruit and elegant powdery tannins.

Wines will be featured through Tuesday, December 6th.

craft-bannerThis Saturday tasting we are featuring the ridiculously fine products offered by Craft Distillers. Their words speak for themselves:

“Craft-method means hand-made. Every brand, every bottling reflects the creative individuality of a single human being working with small, hand-operated equipment: his quirks and insights, his special talents, his innovations. What creates authentically great distilled spirits is the intervention of the individual distiller in what can be a fairly mechanical process. In a great distilled spirit, you can taste the application of the distiller’s skill, his talent, his experience. Spirits distilled using craft methods are an antidote to the commoditized large-production spirits you see advertised & promoted. Craft methods are about authenticity, personal attention, and love of one’s work. Our products are real.”

Cocktails, anyone? Please, please visit their website. You won’t believe these spirits.

We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl so we can CHEERS! 

Discover why 5280 Magazine Readers and Editors voted Pearl Wine Company Denver’s BEST BOTTLE SHOP. PWC takes pride in being Denver’s best wine shop–a craft liquor specialty store. Conveniently located on South Pearl Street in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood.