Rainier Ridge merlot — fine at 30,000 feet

This one earned a half glass.What to say about this wine, which I tasted twice over a weekend, courtesy of Alaska/Horizon Airlines? I don’t expect much when the flight attendant hands me that little plastic cup, three-fourths full. I’m just grateful there’s no sudden turbulence, sending my gratis vino all over my seatmate’s lap.

Actually, I was lucky on the return flight, because the stewardess emptied the bottle filling my glass only half full. She handed it to me with the promise of a top-off once she uncorked the next bottle. I was sure to get in a few long sips before she hit me with the refill.

Rainier Ridge 2006 MerlotAnd really, what do you want in an in-flight wine anyway other than something you can drink quickly and which helps you nod off? Mostly, I was glad the airline’s wine of the month was a red and not a forgettable chardonnay like the last time.

The Rainier Ridge Winery’s 2006 Merlot was actually pretty good … not too sweet with a soft, almost clean finish. It could have benefited from a longer breathing period to bring out the oak flavors, I think, but the primary dark cherry flavors were a nice accompaniment to the little packet of salty snacks.

This wine is not a full merlot, but rather a blend, with 16% Sangiovese, and 5% Cabernet Franc. It comes from Washington’s Columbia Valley, on the dry side of the Cascades. WashingtonWine.org touts this winery’s reds as delivering “grandiose flavors at a modest price.”

Grandiose? Merriam-Webster says grandiose is “characterized by affectation of grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration.” That’s probably about right. This is a decent little wine, but I don’t know that I would attribute much grandeur or splendor.

As for modest price, it’s available online for $6.54 per bottle and probably about the same on your local grocery shelves. Rainier Ridge is distributed by Precept Wine Brands of Seattle. If you’re looking for a serviceable red to have as a table wine for a reasonable price, you could do worse.

Aromatique: Not terribly complex. Grape and cherry aromas that probably were muted by the fact that the wine was served a little cold.

SipQuips: Again, not very complex. Mostly dark cherry and maybe a little plum, followed by an even acidity that did not stay on the tongue for long.

Kitchen couplings: Went fine with salty snacks. It would be good with cheese or with pasta dishes.

2 Responses to “Rainier Ridge merlot — fine at 30,000 feet”

  1. Snob says:

    Nice review but 1972 called and wants its “stewardess” back

    • BraDebbie says:

      We’re in Idaho. We’ll drop “stewardess” off when we get to 1972, in about six weeks. After that, she can be a flight attendant. But things are a little slow out here.


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