14 Hands Merlot Columbia Valley

14 Hands Merlot is produced at the 14 Hands Vineyards in Columbia Valley, WA.  The wine is actually a blend of 78% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Syrah, 1% Grenache and 1% Cabernet Franc.

Alcohol content is 13.5% by volume.

This particular vintage, the 14 Hands Merlot 2010 won “American Value Red” from Wine Spectator magazine in October, 2012.

You can find it for under $10.00 a bottle.

According to information from the winemaker’s web site, the grapes for the 14 Hands Merlot were “sourced from vineyards throughout Washington state, including the Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley and Wahluke Slope. The wine was aged in a combination of American and French oak barrels to build structure and soften the blend.  All varieties were vinified and aged separately. Blending occurred near bottling to enhance mouth-feel and complexity.”

Per the bottle, “Celebrating the spirit of the wild horses that once roamed the Columbia River Valley.  These horses, measuring a mere 14 hands tall, were renowned for their strength, endurance and tenacity.'”

14 Hands also makes their 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon and the 14 Hands Hot to Trot.  Both of which I’ve reviewed.

14 Hands Merlot Review

14 Hands MerlotThis wine poured plum colored in the glass with edges of strawberry.  Legs were apparent and slow to drip down the sides of the glass.  Light barely penetrated this wine.

The aroma of the 14 Hands Merlot was very pleasing.  It started as dark and earthy, but then revealed notes of cherry with a light tinge of alcohol in the nose.

On the palate, the wine exhibited lush flavors of mocha, black cherry and blackberries.  A bit of oak, as well.

Mouthfeel was smooth and milky.  However, firm tannins were noted especially on the sides of the tongue.

The finish was long and brought about a very interesting and enjoyable transition from smooth and milky to slightly dry.  Likely due to the blend and the structure of the tannins.

Overall, I thought the 14 Hands Merlot was excellent.  I was especially impressed with the subtle complexity of this wine and the winemaker’s ability to get the blend just right.  Sometimes, a Merlot can be quite dry and push a red wine drinker over to Cabernet Sauvignon.  I’m fairly certain that the blend that was chosen is what gives the wine its multi-faceted presentation to the consumer.

Highly Recommend!  This is the perfect wine to bring to a cookout.  It can be sipped on its own or would pair well with just about anything on the grill.  It may even become my personal Go-To Merlot.


  1. I really enjoy the 14 Hands wines. I really loved the pinot grigio. Then I noticed they were selling it in cans. What? I’m not sure what this means, but I think it deserves to be in a bottle.

  2. The smell, texture, and taste brings out the full body blend of what a true Merlot should be. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to inquire a top red wine.

    The smooth taste, and texture offers an award winning spirit of its own.

    A wine I recommend for any occasion.

  3. 14 Hands Merlot is my favorite wine ever..I buy it all the time and am very sad if they are out..I always wait for the places to get ot back and then I go back and stock up!!

  4. Jon,
    Agreed with your review. I enjoyed it on my own. It is well priced at $14.00 and a suitable wine to offer on social occasions. The wine 2010 Merlot had plenty of body and tactful maturity.that could be served with a gourmet meal. I think it deserves more credit than a cook out and a convention!

  5. Jon,
    Have enjoyed reading your reviews. My tastes are similar to yours. I have been a Meiomi fan,
    but while visiting in Seattle I experienced 14 Hands, Red Blend. While in San Diego for
    A convention, the Hilton served their Cab as their House wine for $14/glass :)))). I thought
    it was interesting that a large Ca hotel was serving Wa wines.

    I have not tried the Merlot, yet, but will. Have you tried their Red Blend?

    Looking forward to following you. Thanks, Beth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *