WINE OF THE MONTH- MARCH

Columbia Crest continues to domimate my selections for everyday American table wines. There is not another producer I have found that is able to produce such quality wines at these price points, and with such wide availability. For the 2010 vintage, there are selections in the sub-$10 range, such as the Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon (87 Points, $7) and the Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon (88 Points, $10) that offer a stunning expression of the unique terroir of Washington state for a bargain value. The next level of wines come from the Horse Heaven Hills appellation, and are labeled “H3” in remarkably attractive bottles. The winery produces a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, a Chardonnay and a Blend called “Les Chevaux” under this label. The latter is one of the better $15 wines you’ll find anywhere, and is worth a special trip to seek out.

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Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux Horse Heaven Hills 2010, 91 Points, $15, 72,000 Cases Produced- Inviting nose of floral, elegant red plum and cherry fruit that shows off elements of baking spice. Supple and plush on the palate with a controlling streak of creamy vanilla bean holding together the red currant and blackberry fruit notes, and finishing with a blast of exotic spice that lingers long beyond the fruit and oak influences. Juicy and complex without being overripe, light on its feet. The spicy finish is commanding, picking up just a dash of mineral as well. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

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