#MerlotMe: Go Surf or Turf with WA’s Nine Hats

So if you’ve been on the prowl here at Wine Predator a time or two, you may have noticed that we love to pair Merlot with salmon, especially Washington Merlot like we did here with these. But when my husband came home from the store with a beautiful steak, I thought I’d look through my #MerlotMe samples for something that was blended with a Cabernet for that night — but something that would pair well with salmon for the following evening when Sue would be coming over!

That’s why I chose this Nine Hats Merlot from Washington– it’s mostly Merlot but it has some Cabernet Franc in it too. What a winner with both the turf — beef — and the surf — salmon!

Never heard of Nine Hats? We hadn’t either. We found out that it’s a part of SODO Urbanworks in South Seattle, a multi-tenant property that’s home to nine premium Washington wineries — hence the name NINE hats because the wines come from the various vintners!

Next door you’ll find Nine Pies Pizzeria, a New York style pizzeria. Another great pairing!

The inspiration for Nine Hats came from the nine internationally acclaimed winemakers who contribute their time and talents to develop the wines of Long Shadows Vintners. Launched in 2007, Nine Hats started out as a simple red blend created “from Long Shadows’ declassified barrels to support the winemakers’ ongoing, strict selection process for their signature wines. The overwhelming success of the Red Wine lead to the expansion of the brand and Nine Hats has come out of the “shadows” to assemble a portfolio of nine uniquely sophisticated wines.”

2014 – Nine Hats – Merlot – 14.5% alcohol – $25 
87% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc
645 cases

Half of the Merlot component is from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, providing this wine with its silky tannins, and from the Walla Walla AVA for its richness. The Cabernet Franc from the Weinbau Vineyard provides elegance and balance.

This is a very special, complex, rich yet balanced wine for the price. My husband loved it as did Sue and I.

Color: Dense, crimson, very red/red, very unfined and unfiltered, you can see the swirl as you turn your glass in circles, Cherokee tomato red.

Nose: The touch of cab franc gives this Merlot a very different nose, earthy bell pepper, baking spice, menthol, blue fruit, stone fruit, blackberries or marionberries. We loved how the berries marry with the earth and cinnamon stick.

Palate: Menthol up front, velvety, berries on the back end, cocoa nibs on the back end lingering into the finish, black pepper and nice vegetal notes on the front end on the back, nice rich berries.

Pairing: Fine with the goat cheese brie, and was most wonderful with the buttery nuage cheese. The wine really married well with the spice nuts, nice with the creamy blue cheese, but not over the top, and fabulous with the blueberry wrapped goat cheese. The richness of this wine was fabulous with the Ahi tuna salad and great with the salmon.

Rich wine, rich food.

Marshall found it very fruit forward with the salmon while I found a hazelnut chocolate flavor when drinking it with the  salmon, and  Sue found that the berry/earthiness decadence of the wine went so well with the richness of the salmon. Marsh and I both enjoyed it even more with the steak the previous evening. I pumped the half bottle of wine we left and put its the fridge; it did not change in any noticeable way overnight.

Fantastic wine for $25. This wine over delivers.

Read about the other three Washington Merlot here as well as other #MerlotMe wines and pairings!

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