A Wine for Tonight: 2008 Columbia Crest H3 Merlot

By Kori ~ September 16th, 2010.

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 2008 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 <=$15
  • Must be widely available

Columbia Crest, located in Paterson, Washington, has been one of our favorite sources of value wines for many years. Head winemaker, Ray Einberger, took the reins in 2002 from Doug Gore who had been the winemaker since Columbia Crest was founded in 1983. Under Gore and Einberger’s leadership, 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 the newest tier of wines in the Columbia Crest portfolio and was created to showcase 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 entices the nose with aromas of blueberry, cassis and hints of tobacco and spice aromas. The silky and sweet mid-palate introduces slight dusty, earthy, and rich berry notes which cumulate in the long and concentrated finish.” –Winemaker Ray Einberger

2008 Columbia Crest H3 Merlot (Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): 92% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, and a “kiss” of Syrah. Deep, purplish red. Black cherry, coffee, and licorice come through on the nose; more black fruits and coffee as well as smoked meats on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium, drying tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $15; Available elsewhere, $15

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

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