' Desert Wind Winery - Merlot


2016 Merlot

Best of Class - 2018 Seattle Wine Awards
Best of Class & 95 points - 2018 Los Angeles International Wine Competition

2014 Merlot

Double Gold Medal - 2016 Seattle Wine Awards
Panel Pick - Sip Northwest 'Best of Northwest' Issue, October 2016
Bronze Medal - 2016 Los Angeles International Wine Competition

2013 Merlot

Silver Medal - 2014 Grand Harvest Awards
Bronze Medal - 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Awards
Bronze Medal - 2015 Great Northwest Wine Competition

Chuck Hill's Wine of the Week Pick - Wines Northwest, October 31, 2014

"(The) 2013 Merlot is well balanced, showing ripe aromas of cherry and blackberry with notes of floral perfume and earthy mineral.  The palate offers juicy berry and plum flavors with hints of cocoa and medium tannins."

2011 Merlot

88 points - Wine Advocate, Issue #213 (June 2014)
The 2011 Merlot is a very good effort that’s also a solid value. Giving up ripe black fruits, mulled spices, chocolate and hints of herbs, it hits the palate with a medium-bodied, rounded, supple and deliciously texture profile that’s perfect for drinking over the coming couple of years.”

Gold Medal / 94 points - 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition
Silver Medal - 2014 Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition
Silver Medal - 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Bronze Medal - 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition

2010 Merlot

89 points - Wine Spectator, June 15, 2013 issue
"Fresh and vibrant, showing restraint in terms of size and structure, with red berry, cinnamon and savory spice flavors lingering against tight tannins. Best from 2014 through 2018."

Double Gold Medal - 2013 Seattle Wine Awards
Double Gold Medal - 2013 Savor Northwest Wine Awards
Gold Medal - 2013 Wine Press Northwest Platinum Awards
Silver Medal - 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver Medal - 2013 Pacific Rim Wine Competition
Bronze Medal - 2013 Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition
Bronze Medal - 2012 Seattle Wine Awards

Bronze Medal - 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition
Bronze Medal - 2013 Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition
Bronze Medal - 2013 Northwest Wine Summit Wine Awards

2009 Merlot

Platinum Award - 2012 Wine Press Northwest Platinum Awards Wine Competition
“The Fries family works both sides of the Columbia River, with Desert Wind in the Yakima Valley & Wahluke Slope and Duck Pond Cellars in Oregon's Dundee Hills. This beautifully balanced Merlot from estate grapes opens with aromas of subtle herbs, including thyme and savory, as well as sweet cherries and just a whisper of oak. On the palate, it reveals rich flavors of Bing cherries, red plums and cranberries. It is a superb wine that will pair with lasagna, tri-tip or pepperoni pizza.”

Gold Medal - 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2008 Merlot

Bronze Medal - 2011 Northwest Wine Summit

2006 Merlot

Silver Medal - 2009 World Wine Championships
“Plum and woody pencil shaving aromas follow through on a lively entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium body with prune, pepper, and graphite notes on the zippy fade. A nice quaffer or pair with burgers.”

Recommended / Best Buy
– Northwest Palate, May/June 2009
“Bold and plump aromas of spice-accented, sweet black fruits are forward and inviting. In the mouth plum, huckleberry, and blackberry fruit are backed by notes of chocolate and vanilla, with plenty of tannin propping up the whole. Spice accents reappear on the finish with a touch of cinnamon among the plums. Big and a little awkward, but rich and satisfying, a classic for homemade meatloaf.”

Excellent – Wine Press Northwest, Spring 2010

“The Fries family has constructed a showpiece winery overlooking the Yakima River in Prosser, Wash., complete with a gorgeous tasting room, cooking facilities and a resort-style inn. The grapes for this Merlot come from estate fruit on the highly regarded Desert Wind Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. The result is a wine with aromas of red currants and cherries, followed by flavors of red plums, red cherries, raspberry jam and chocolate. It's a bright, luscious wine.”

85 points - Wine Advocate, Issue #185 (October 2009)
“The red wine values begin with the 2006 Merlot Desert Wind Vineyard. It offers up a nose of spice box and red fruits leading to a medium-bodied, pleasant, but simple effort that should be consumed over the next 3 years.”

Silver Medal - World Value Wine Challenge
Silver Medal - 2010 US Wine Buyers Competition
Bronze Medal - 2009 Grand Harvest Awards
Bronze Medal – 2009 Decanter World Wine Awards
Bronze Medal - 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition


2005 Merlot

88 points - Wine Spectator, March 31, 2009
"Light and deft, with some refinement to the silky structure, offering cherry and raspberry fruit under a veil of light earth and spice. Drink now through 2014. 2,598 cases made." –HS

2004 Merlot

89 points / Smart Buy - Wine Spectator,  May 31, 2008
"Smooth and velvety, with a touch of a roasted meat weaving through the raspberry and cherry fruit, playing against fine tannins on the long finish. Drink now through 2011." —H.S.

88 points - Patterson's Beverage Journal, November 2006
“Smooth and ripe with lovely plum and berry fruit; long, mellow and balanced.”

TWO STARS - San Francisco Chronicle, May 4, 2006
“This wine stands out in this crowd for its sweeter, high-octane (15.5 percent alcohol) style that some will love. It tastes like blackberry pie ala mode, with hints of raspberry, mocha and spice.”

Recommended/Good Value - Northwest Palate, May/June 2006
“Appealing aromas of mint-tinged berry fruit, well matched in the mouth by round flavors of plums and cherry, complemented by light toast, even background tannins, and a sweetly soft texture. Pair with spinach ravioli in marinara sauce.”

88 points / Highly Recommended / Best Buy - Beverage Testing Institute

2001 Merlot

Bronze Medal - 2005 Central Washington State Fair

2000 Merlot

Gold Medal - 2004 Northwest Wine Summit
Silver Medal - 2004 Seattle Wine Society
Silver Medal -
2004 Taster’s Guild Consumer Wine Competition
Bronze Medal -
2004 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
Bronze Medal - International Eastern Wine Competition 2004
Bronze Medal -
2004 LA County Fair Wines of the World Competition
Bronze Medal -
2004 San Diego Wine Competition
Bronze Medal -
2004 West Coast Wine Competition
Bronze Medal -
2004 San Francisco International Wine Competition

1999 Merlot

Outstanding - Wine Press Northwest, Winter 2001
"Washington's Wahluke Slope area has some great vineyards, and the area is beginning to emerge as a favorite with consumers. The Fries family has crafted this chewy red with gobs of flavors, including chocolate, berries, cedar, toasty spice, black pepper and great tannins."

Recommended - Wine Press Northwest, Winter 2002

"A dark, dense wine showing off spicy, toasted oak, herbal notes and plenty of fruit, all backed up with rich tannins."

89 points / Highly Recommended - Beverage Tasting Institute
84 points / Recommended Beverage Tasting Institute
Silver Medal - 2002 Grand Harvest Awards
Bronze Medal - 2002 Tasters Guild International Wine Judging
Bronze Medal - 2002 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
Bronze Medal - 2002 LA County Fair Wines of the World Competition
Bronze Medal - 2003 Northwest Wine Summit
Bronze Medal - 2004 Long Beach Grand Cru
Seal of Approval - 2003 International Wine Challenge