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Northstar
by
Kathy Sullivan

NorthstarSummary: Located in Walla Walla, Washington Northstar offers wine enthusiasts the opportunity to visit a modern style winery facility. The majority of wines produced at Northstar are red varieties.

In 1994 Northstar began making wine to showcase the Merlots of the Walla Walla AVA. In 2009, the decision was made to work towards creating Washington State’s best Merlot. This is called The Big Dipper Project. Winemaker, David “Merf” Merfeld, has searched the state for what he considers the best vineyards for Merlot.

Travelers to Northstar will notice the well-maintained gardens outside of the facility. At the time of our visit lavender and summer flowers were in bloom. A large patio is inviting with views of vineyards. Young lavender plants surround the parking area.

Northstar has 13.5 acres of vineyards with a concentration of Malbec and Merlot. Additional grapes are sourced from Walla Walla AVA and Columbia Valley AVA. Presently Northstar produces 14,000 to 17,000 cases. The winery is on a lower level. It can be viewed just past a set of double doors off of the tasting room.

NorthstarTasting Room

The tasting room in Walla Walla opened in 2002. The tasting counter is unique. The white top transmits light and allows the wine taster to easily discern the color of the wine. In the center of the room a large two-sided fireplace with leather seating around it adds additional ambiance. Windows provide views of vineyards. Located just outside of the tasting room, a patio with wrought iron tables and chairs are available to enjoy the wine country views. Gardens add color and ambiance to the patio setting. Gift items in the tasting room include gourmet food items, wine accessories and clothing. Refrigerated cheeses, cheese plates and meat plates are available. Look for gourmet crackers, Sicilian Pepper Spread and Tuscan Olive Spread. Wood gift boxes with three to six bottles featuring vertical tastings are available.

Adjacent to the tasting room, a well-lit room with windows overlooking the vineyards is available for events.

Winery

A state-of-the-art winery is located below the tasting room. Automated pump-over stainless steel tanks line one side of the tank room. Taller variable capacity tanks line the other side of the tank room. Wines were being racked at the time of our visit. A unique setting for special ocasions is on this lower level. It can be seen from the hall leading to tasting room.

Northstar     Northstar

NorthstarWines

The tasting began with the 2008 Semillon. This light yellow wine offered tropical fruit on the nose and taste. The crisp finish was fruity and dry. Cabernet Franc 2005 was a blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The color was sienna with a red rim. The aroma and taste offered nuances of plum with black cherry notes. The wine was crisp with light tannins. The finish started fruity and then yielded to spice. Syrah 2007 was dark purple with a red rim. The wine offered nuances of plum and dark fruit. The wine had light tannins and was fruity. Cabernet Sauvignon was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The color was dark purple with a red rim. There were notes of blackberries. The finish was fruity with tannins. Columbia Valley Merlot 2006, a dark ruby with red rim, was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The finish was fruity with tannins. Walla Walla Merlot 2006 was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The color was dark sienna with a red rim. The nuances were of black fruit especially blackberries. The fruity finish had tannins.

Visit Northstar where Merlot wines are featured. Visitors can taste Merlot crafted with grapes from the Walla Walla AVA alongside Merlot with grapes sourced from the Columbia Valley AVA.

Northstar
1736 JB George Rd
Walla Walla, Washington 99362

GPS: N46º 00.721’ W118º 21.872’


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