Hogue 1999 Vineyard Selection Merlot (Columbia Valley (WA))

Hogue has three tiers of its red wines; this is the middle Merlot, showing fragrant, sweet fruit in the nose, along with hints of mocha and vanilla. It's actually a complex blend that includes Lemberger, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese, though Merlot is the mainstay. It's a tart, tannic, vividly fruity, forward-drinking wine, ready right now. Paul Gregutt

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