Airfield Estates Runway Merlot 2015

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Tasting Notes

This wine possesses deliciousness on all fronts: aroma, flavor, and texture.  Aromas of woody blackberries, spice, and plum lead to similar flavors of spice, juicy berries, plum, and hints of chocolate, black olive, and mineral.  The texture is rich and supple, with supporting tannins and acidity completely integrated.  Medium to plus in body and length.


Don Miller grew up on a family farm in south central Washington’s Yakima Valley near a string of WW II airbases; the family raised sugar beets, spearmint, peppermint, and asparagus and leased land to the Air Force.  Don left college to join the Army Air Corps and served in India, Australia, and the Mariana Islands.  He returned to the farm after the war and was strongly influenced by Dr. Walter Clore, who, like Dr. Konstantin Frank here in the Finger Lakes, believed the region could grow premium wine grapes.  After a visit to Freemark Abbey in Napa, Don obtained vines and planted a three-acre experimental vineyard in 1968.  A larger second vineyard was planted the following year, testing over ten varieties for suitability.  The first commercial plantings began in 1971, and though the quality was somewhat questionable, the grapes found a ready market, especially in Canada.  In 1977 Chateau Ste. Michelle began leading Washington’s entry into the world of fine wine.  The winery needed grapes and the Millers needed a new crop when the major sugar producer left the state, so a marriage was born.
The winery provided valuable technical assistance and a market for the Millers’ 71 acres of Riesling and 25 acres of Merlot.  Plantings grew and improved over time, until the farm was one of the largest producers in the state, selling to large wineries.  Don’s son Mike oversaw the vineyards and his son Marcus went to enology school.  When they realized most people had never heard of Airfield Ranch, they decided to make their own wines.  Today, the estate covers 950 acres, with 27 different varieties.  Airfield produces 11 white wines, 18 reds, and two dessert wines.  Marcus Miller is the winemaker.
Grapes for this wine come from a vineyard block planted in 1996.  Grapes are sorted, gently pressed, and fermented in tank.  After primary fermentation, the wine is transferred to barrels (about 25% new, a combination of French, American, and Eastern European oak) for malolactic fermentation and several months’ ageing.  The wine is bottled after a light filtration.
Food Pairing Suggestions

Charcuterie, Grilled preparations, Ham, Pizza, Pork, Red Meat, Roasted Root Vegetables, Slow-smoked Barbeque/BBQ Sauce, Tomato Sauce

Washington , Yakima Valley
Grape Varietal:
100% Merlot
$20.00 each
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