A project started by Jed Steel back in the mid-90's and now part of Chateau Ste. Michelle, Northstar has gone on to become a benchmark wine from the Columbia Valley. Winemaker David Merfeld works closely with growers to achieve specific fruit quality and yields. Vines average 15 years old and yield grapes with concentrated varietal flavors of cherry and plum with elegant tannins. Fruit from more than 10 separate vineyards and 14 different blocks contributed to the blend. 78% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot, aged in 90% French oak — 59% new oak barrels — for 18 months with racking occurring at three month intervals. Wine Enthusiast Magazine said "This cool-vintage wine offers restrained notes of toast, dried herbs, vanilla, mocha and blueberry. It's lighter in style than recent vintages, with tart fruit flavors backed by grainy tannins."