by Fred McMillin
for June 24, 1997

Don't Duck This Merlot

Prologue: Oregon's Duck Pond Cellars '95 Merlot is our Wine of the Day.

The Rest of the Story: What's this? Oregon is known for Pinot Noir, not Merlot. The latter grape has been doing much better to the north in the State of Washington. So how does Duck Pond make such a good Merlot? That's easy. They acquired 400 acres in Washington for their Merlot. Winemaker Greg Fries is very happy with the results...lots of varietal flavor not overpowered with oak...a vibrant companion for Veal Parmesan...and only twelve bucks a bottle.

1995 Merlot, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, WA
Duck Pond Cellars
Dundee, Yamhill County, Oregon

Postscript: About the Columbia Valley:

  • The Columbia River flow is twice that of the Nile.

  • The Napa Valley viticultural area covers 300,000 acres. The Columbia Valley viticultural area is over ten million acres.

  • The Wahluke Slope is a name to remember. It has a bright future; it faces south with a good slope. Hence, it's vineyards are less prone to frost damage in this cold climate.

    About the Writer

    Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

  • Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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