2016 Little Sister Reviews Vineyards Past Vintages

 Vineyard Source

Phinny Hill, Red Mountain
Red Willow, Yakima Valley


100% Merlot



Release Date

October 5, 2018


215 cases

Download Tasting Notes PDF

Winemaking Notes

The combination of two world class vineyards and an exceptional growing season provided us with the opportunity to produce a remarkable merlot. The merlot from Red Willow vineyard was planted in 1989 and 1993, in ancient soils that were above the Missoula flood plain. The merlot from Phinny Hill was planted in 2007 in ancient cobble and Malga fine gravelly loam soils that provide excellent drainage and a diverse mineral composition. Both sites produce compact clusters with small berries leading to wonderfully rich and concentrated aromas and flavors. The wine was fermented in a combination of 1.5, 2 and 5 ton open top fermenters for 7-10 days. The wine is lightly pressed to barrel, where it finishes primary and malolactic fermentation and is aged for 21 months in 44% new French oak. The wine was racked twice prior to being bottled.



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Wine Advocate

From the 2015 vintage: (92-94) Points

"I believe a new cuvee from this estate, the 2015 Merlot Little Sister (there's a tiny splash of Cabernet Franc) sports a vibrant ruby/purple color as well as ample black cherry and black raspberry fruit characteristics, ample graphite and minerality, full-bodied richness and a seamless, pure, elegant texture. It's going to drink nicely right out of the gate, yet also evolve nicely. It's a terrific expression of Washington State Merlot." Jeb Dunnuck


Red Willow 

Red Willow vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in the state, a true Washington pioneer. Owned and operated by Mike Sauer, his wife Karen, sons Jonathan and Daniel, and son-in-law Rick Willsey, Red Willow remains a family operation. The vineyard is located on the Yakama Indian Reservation, on steep south-facing slopes in the Cascade foothills, in the Yakima Valley AVA. The first wine grapes were planted in 1973 under the direction of Dr. Walt Clore. Red Willow represents classical non-fruit qualities with stunning balance and grace.


More to come!