The 2011 Hyatt Vineyards Rattlesnake Hills Merlot is 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Hyatt’s Rattlesnake Hills vineyards. Hyatt Vineyards is a family owned vineyard and winery, founded in 1983. Rattlesnake Hills is a relatively new grape growing area, it didn’t become an AVA until 2006 and it is located inside the Yakima Valley AVA which in turn is located inside the much larger Columbia Valley AVA in Washington. The 2011 vintage was a difficult growing year, too wet and too cool most of the time, it took extra long for the grapes to ripen. The Hyatt Merlot was aged in American oak barrels, mostly used barrels, but 30% were new. This is a fairly small production wine, 3,063 cases produced, with a list price if $13. So, you get a small production, family owned Estate wine for the price of a Brand wine. The alcohol content is 13.7%.
The color is cherry red with black highlights. The nose is red fruit along with a mix of herbs. This Merlot tastes bright, alive and has fresh fruit flavors. It tastes of blackberry and raspberry, a hint of mocha and a slap of Altoid’s spice. There are nice, firm tannins to give this Merlot solid structure and the acidity is well-balanced. The finish is full and long.
The 2011 Hyatt Rattlesnake Hills Merlot is an extremely solid value priced wine, good flavor, excellent structure and a bit of personality. Some inexpensive Merlot can be kind of boring, they taste ok, but no pizzazz. The Hyatt Merlot does everything a good Merlot is supposed to do and does so at a very attractive price.