Walla Walla Vintners 1999 Walla Walla Valley Merlot (gift, think it sells for ~$25)
There is nice cherry/berry on the nose and palate, with oak noticeable but not as dominant as in some other wines I’ve had from this producer. This has good earth, adequate acidity, smooth texture and decent structure. It’s an excellent match with barbecued chicken. Three days later, a little more oak is evident along with some high-toned elements on the nose; otherwise, it’s similar to before. I would still prefer less oak and have always had a Miles-like attitude toward Merlot, but this is not bad for its style.
Morrison Lane 2002 Walla Walla Valley Counoise (gift, no idea what it costs)
Never had a 100 percent Counoise before. This is very rich and intense with black cherry, lots of spice, and some smoke, earth, briary and chocolate elements. It is medium-bodied, with a fairly thick texture and low to moderate acidity. The 14.7 percent alcohol is not that obvious but still higher than I’d like it. There is some oak but it’s not overdone and is well-integrated. It does go well with homemade burritos. Two days later, had the rest of the bottle after finishing the WWV Merlot. The contrast was interesting, because this was brighter, more red fruited, a bit more acidic, less oaky, and to my palate, more enjoyable. The texture is viscous, but it’s not too heavy and is reasonably balanced. If the price isn't too high, I'd consider buying a bottle or two.