2013 Super Substance "Northridge Vineyard" Wahluke Slope Merlot (Elsewhere $55)

SKU #1283883 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Reviewed last year under the K Vintners label, the 2013 Super Substance Merlot Northridge is a serious effort that’s reminiscent of a top flight Pomerol. It sports a deep ruby/purple color as well as ample black currants, plums, wet clay and earth in a rich, full-bodied, concentrated, layered package that’s already hard to resist. Nevertheless, I suspect it will be even better with 2-3 years of bottle age and drink well over the following 10-15 years. (JD)  (6/2016)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* Brooding aromas of blackberry seed, black currant and licorice are followed by a full-bodied palate, with a tight core of dark-fruit flavors supported by fine-grained tannins. It’s near irresistible, showing impeccable styling.  (2/2017)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (15% alcohol; 40% new oak): Healthy medium red. More serious on the nose than the Stoneridge Vineyard Merlot, offering aromas of red cherry, plum, licorice and spices. More concentrated and densely packed as well, in a more complex, delineated, Bordeaux-like direction. Really fills the mouth and expands on the back end, with the tannins more effectively buffered by fruit than those of the Stoneridge Vineyard example. Boasts very good energy for such a ripe wine; in fact, I never would have guessed that it was carrying 15% alcohol.  (11/2016)

90 points Vinous

 (15% alcohol; 40% new oak): Healthy medium red. More serious on the nose than the Stoneridge Vineyard Merlot, offering aromas of red cherry, plum, licorice and spices. More concentrated and densely packed as well, in a more complex, delineated, Bordeaux-like direction. Really fills the mouth and expands on the back end, with the tannins more effectively buffered by fruit than those of the Stoneridge Vineyard example. Boasts very good energy for such a ripe wine; in fact, I never would have guessed that it was carrying 15% alcohol. (ST)  (7/2016)

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By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/17/2017 | Send Email
Super Substance is yet another project from Charles Smith (K Vintners, Sixto, Kung Fu Girl) the famed winemaker and larger than life personality from the state of Washington. Somehow the man and his trusty crew have found time to make yet another fantastic set of wines that deliver massive quality, with pure deliciousness in mind for the consumer. As K Vintners has done for so many years with Syrah and other Rhone Varietals out of Washington State so does Super Substance for Bordeaux Varietals—it puts the best possible wine in to bottle for extremely reasonable prices, in slick packaging, from some of the best vineyards that the state has to offer. We highly suggest that at these special prices you check these wines out.
The “Northridge” Merlot was planted in 2003 and this teenage vineyard is in a fun spot still having the exuberance of youth but starting to develop its own personality. Coffee grounds and tea leaf driven aromas lead on the nose with a lovely polish oak, there is 70% new French Oak here, and an undercurrent of broad and expanding Blueberry fruit. Soft as a down pillow and yet still multifaceted with plenty of earth/fruit interplay, tension and overall complexity this wine delivers on both Merlot’s textural and fruit driven sides. Add notes of clay, wild Iris and berry blossom in the finish and this starts becoming serious without ever losing its gulpability.

By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/30/2017 | Send Email
Deep plum, blackberry, cocoa, slate and earthy hues dominate this juicy, bold Washington Merlot. This wine is 100% Merlot that's aged in predominately new barrique barrels that translates to big tannin and complexity on the palette. I think this wine would be even better with some more bottle age on it, 5+ years.

By: Anthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/24/2017 | Send Email
. This is a great Merlot for California Merlot drinkers. Big plum, cherries and savory herbs jump out at first glance. A full bodied and powerful wine that packs it full of richness. Juicy acid play perfectly with earth tones, currants, and blackberries. A long finish makes this a perfect accompaniment to hearty meats, grilled mushrooms or just good company.

By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/24/2017 | Send Email
I am primarily aware of Charles Smith for his high end Syrah under the auspices of K Vintner and his value driven Bordeaux blends (although his newer project Casa Smith is excellent as well). Seeing that we had brought in several cases of the Super Substance label intrigued me, and I was so glad we got to open this wine. Not surprisingly to me, this is a very well done Merlot that captures the dark rich blackberry and plum notes of Merlot without being too sweet. Rather this is a well balanced and soft wine, with plenty of juicy fruit but that does not go overboard in any way.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Merlot

- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

Washington

- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.
Alcohol Content (%): 15