A Wine for Tonight: 2009 Columbia Crest H3 Merlot

By Kori ~ May 31st, 2012.

Would 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 here is this week’s selection, the 2009 Columbia Crest H3 Merlot from the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington State.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$20
  • 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.

H3, an abbreviation for Horse Heaven Hills, is one of the tiers in the Columbia Crest portfolio and showcases the region in which their winery is located. All of the fruit used to produce H3 wines come from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

“The H3 Merlot opens with aromas of raspberries, black pepper and earthy tones which lead to flavors of chocolate covered cherries and plum preserves on the silky smooth palate. The flavors and aromas culminate in an intense—yet elegant—finish.” –Winemaker Juan Munoz Oca

2009 Columbia Crest H3 Merlot (Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): 96% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Malbec. Deep purplish red in color. Nice nose with jammy black fruit, plum, and leather aromas. Chocolate, plum, black cherry, leather, and a touch of licorice come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins, and a medium to 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 $15; Available elsewhere, $9 to $17

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

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