A Wine for Tonight: 2006 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon

By Kori ~ November 5th, 2009.

Note: The “Wine Word of the Week” series will be moving to Saturdays as this new “A Wine for Tonight” series will be running on Thursdays starting today.

2006 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet SauvignonWould you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that won’t break your budget and is widely available? Many of our readers have said this is something they would like, so this is the first in a series of weekly posts entitled “A Wine for Tonight”.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$15
  • Must be widely available

Our first “Wine for Tonight” is the 2006 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, one of our longtime everyday-favorite Cabs. Widely available (200,000 cases were produced) at about $9, it has excellent QPR with a rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

“Though the Wine Advocate has been bellowing it for years, it is worth repeating: Columbia Crest is the source of some of the finest values in the world. I am awestruck that winemaker Ray Einberger and his team can produce such quality in industrial-size quantities.” –Pierre Rovani, April 2006

Columbia Crest has been one of our favorite sources of value wines for many years and was featured in our Making your wine buying simple, enjoyable, and easy on the pocketbook post last year. Time after time in the blind tastings at our monthly wine tasting dinners, a Columbia Crest wine has finished at or near the top in the consensus rankings while invariably being one of the lowest priced wines in the tasting.

“Intense cherry, cassis and slight spice aromas lead to fruit-forward flavors of chocolate berry on the palate. This supple wine trails into a long finish that offers silky tannins and a slightly spiced cocoa finish.” –Winemaker Ray Einberger’s tasting notes on the 2006 Grand Estates Cab

2006 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Price: $9

Filed under: A Wine for Tonight, American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Don | November 5th, 2009 at 8:12 am

    I tend to overlook the Grand Estates line (my bad!) because Columbia Crest’s Two Vines Vineyard 10 Red is such an awesome blend (Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Grenache, Mouvedre) and inexpensive (regularly $6 on sale), and for a mere buck more than the GE, you can get Columbia Crest’s H3 Merlot ($10 at Costco; $11-12 elsewhere). The latter might actually make me a merlot drinker again.
    BTW, CC’s Walter Clore Reserve, which you reviewed in September, is an absolute steal at Costco for $20 (elsewhere, around $30).

  2. Lia Johnson | November 6th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    This new addition is right up our alley! Can’t wait to read these articles every week. By the way, Kyle and I would love to catch up with you guys 🙂

  3. Mark | November 11th, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Couldn’t agree with you more Kori and I love your new Thursday topic. Columbia Crest is definitely a name that everyday wine drinkers should remember. Outstanding consistency and reliability year after year. Don made some good points in his comment as well. On another note, for some reason very few people are aware that Columbia Crest also makes a very good and again inexpensive Shiraz. Have you had an opportunity to try their Shiraz?

  4. Kori | November 11th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    You are exactly right; Columbia Crest makes some great wines at great prices across all of their lines…Two Vines, Grand Estates, H3, and Reserve. I’ll have to keep my eye out for the Walter Clore next time I’m at Costco.

    So glad to hear you’re enjoying the new series. I’m excited about it too!

    Glad you like this new series. Excellent point about Columbia Crest’s consistency and reliability. Yes, I’ve had their Shiraz. In fact, the 2003 Two Vines Shiraz won one of our tasting dinners last year. Here’s the post from that dinner: http://winepeeps.com/2008/02/11/wine-tasting-dinner-washington-syrah/


  5. Keith | December 3rd, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Congrats to you for discovering that Columbia Crest offers four distinct tiers within the master brand – each intended to appeal to a unique consumer or occasion and all designed to over-deliver on the QPR. Ray Einberger and his team at Crest get a lot of quality mileage out of the Grand Estate tier, but the discerning drinker will appreciate that AVA – and in some casea vineyard – specificity of the H3 and Reserve wines.

    H3 was developed to carry a $15+ price point, so finding it below $13 anywhere on a regular basis makes it a steal among WA wines.

    The Reserves are Ray’s pride and joy and he receives more flexibility to craft “his” wines in this tier, through vineyard sourcing, fruit selection (hand-picked fruit in this tier), and a barrel regime that rises to the standard of a true reserve-class product. The Walter Clore normally gets top-notch fruit among the Reserves, so it’s a good idea to keep it on your shopping list in anticipation of the next vintage. For those of you who enjoy WA syrah, the Crest Reserve is among the most authentic examples of the intersection of WA fruit, classic winemaking, and a winemaker who has a passion for the grape. The winemaker adds a touch of viognier to this wine to build aromatics and it’s the smallest production Reserve wine offered by Crest – excepting a few wines available only at the winery itself in Paterson.