Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot: Another hidden gem to add to the list!

Hello Friends,

Today’s pick is another fine bottle of wine I opened in celebration of ‘International Merlot Month.’ This wine hails from the Rogue Valley appellation in southern Oregon. The Rogue Valley is the southern-most of the state’s viticultural areas. It is generally warmer and drier, and much less defined in terms of principal grape varieties than the state’s highly regarded and well-known Willamette Valley region to the north. In the Rogue Valley, you’ll find classic Bordeaux varieties; Rhone inspired wines, including Syrah and Viognier; Spanish grapes; and more.

Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot 

For around a century, the Garvin family farmed Sam’s Valley; running cattle and growing a variety of grasses on its 230 plus acres. In 1999, at the ripe young age of 70, Vern Garvin and his wife Dorothy began planting a vineyard on the property and the rest is history. Today, second and third generations of the Garvin family continue to preserve their vision and legacy. What started with 15 acres of vines has expanded to approximately 70 acres. The winery uses 100% estate grown fruit in their Cliff Creek Cellars wines and sells residual fruit to other producers. Stylistically, the winery produces French-inspired wines out of southern Oregon fruit. My personal experience with Rogue Valley wines has been limited, since many of the producers are small, family-run operations that tend to sell direct to consumer through the tasting room. However, I’ve discovered several hidden gems in the area and I’m adding Cliff Creek Cellars to the list. Their 2012 Sam’s Valley Vineyard Merlot is a wonderful food wine that absolutely deserves to be on your wine radar. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

From our vineyard to your table. Enjoy! ~ Cliff Creek Cellars

Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot (SRP $25): Bright ruby in color with violet reflections, this Merlot offers an aromatic melody of dark cherries and black currant laced with suggestions of forest floor, dried herbs, and spiced barrel notes. In the mouth, it is light-to-medium bodied and streamlined in texture, with an attractive feminine quality. The flavors are bright, mirroring the nose, and show a bit of restraint. A nice lift of acidity gives the wine good energy from first sip through to the vibrant, satisfying finish. This is just the ticket with light cheese selections, herb roast chicken, grilled veggies, mom's homemade meatloaf and more. It is truly a wonderful food wine. Only 195 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Rogue Valley, Oregon. Other info: ABV 13.6%, 19 months maturation: 34% 1-3 year barrels (100% French oak), 33% new oak barrels (95% French, 5% American), 33% neutral barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.