Hogue's wines have been spotty of late, and the constant change in label design makes the wines difficult to track on the shelf. But this latest Merlot shows a marked improvement over recent vintages, a hopeful sign that this important producer is back on track. It's got a nice, soft entry, with black cherry candy dominating the palate. There's a slightly burnt, raisiny flavor running through the finish, as if the grapes were a bit roasted, but the tannins are smooth and for the price it drinks well and delivers an extra dollop of intensity.
Paul Gregutt is a Contributing Editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, a founding member of the magazine’s Tasting Panel, and reviews the wines of Oregon and Canada. The author of the critically-acclaimed Washington Wines & Wineries—The Essential Guide, he consulted on the Pacific Northwest entries in current versions of The World Atlas of Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.