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January 13, 2017 Wine Pick of the Week

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Hedges HIP Merlot 2013 Picmonkey

2013 HIP Merlot


Hedges Family Estate

Columbia Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $17.99*

“The HIP designation on the label of this week’s Wine ‘Pick’ signifies ‘House of Independent Producers,’ which is a concept affiliated with the Hedges Family Estate, a Washington-based vineyard and winery in the Red Mountain AVA.

“Merlot is a grape variety that does particularly well in Washington. Treated appropriately, the Merlot variety will produce a wine similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, but something more than just a pale version of that grape. Some, particularly modestly-priced Merlot from California, are full of fruit—‘Jammy’ in the current parlance—and seem soft, in spite of carrying high alcohol levels. There is a market for wines like this.

“But the 2013 HIP Merlot is not one of those. Its charms are subtler. The nose shows aromas of dark fruits like plums, black cherries and berries. There’s also some spice and cocoa in the background, which are repeated as subtleties rounding out more of the dark cherry and berry personality in the taste. Dry and with decent acidity, this is not a great Merlot, but it is a good one, particularly at a price of $12-$15 which seems to be the average for national pricing and less than the quoted $17.99* at the Hedges website. “

Food Affinity: “Swiss steak. Pork roast studded with garlic cloves. Grilled eggplant with a chunky tomato sauce and topped with freshly-grated cheese.”


Editor’s Note:  Wines reviewed in Taste California Travel are encountered by our staff in several ways. They can be discovered at trade tastings or visits to wineries. They may also be purchased by staff members for their own tables or be those sent by wineries for possible review. This is an editorial feature, not advertising, and appearance cannot be secured by payment. More information can be had by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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