By Kori ~ March 15th, 2012.
Would you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that wonâ€™t break your budget and is widely available? Many of our readers have said this is something they would like, so here is this weekâ€™s selection, the 2008 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot from the Columbia Valley of Washington State.
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
Columbia Crest, located in Paterson, Washington, has been one of our favorite sources of value wines for many years. Last year, Juan Munoz Oca took over as head winemaker from Ray Einberger. Einberger had been at the helm since 2002 when he took the reins from Doug Gore who had been the winemaker since Columbia Crest was founded in 1983. The Columbia Crest winemaking team has produced more 90+ scoring bottles of wine than any other winery in the world. For those of us who live in Washington State, it is nice to have such a consistent, affordable producer in our own backyard.
â€œAromas of vanilla bean, coffee bean, and mocha introduce this classic Merlot. Dark chocolate covered cherries, caramel and nutmeg flavors meld with silky tannins and create a long and elegant finish.â€ â€“Winemaker Juan Munoz Oca
2008 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot (Columbia Valley, Washington): 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Deep, dark red. Nose is a bit tight at first and then aromas of black plum, earth, and cocoa emerge. More black fruit, earth, and cocoa as well as a hint of smoked meat and black pepper come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium, dry tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $12; Available elsewhere, $7 to $14
Filed under: A Wine for Tonight, American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Merlot, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25