A winery that needs no introduction, Columbia Crest remains one of the most popular wineries in the United States. There is good reason behind this, as I have had sampled hundreds of great bottles from this winery over the past ten years plus years. I can say that consistently the winemaking has been excellent, especially considering the price of these wines. There is a reason why these wines sell so well – because the winemaking is excellent, the fruit is good and the attention to detail is clearly there. If you are out in the Columbia Valley, be sure to check out their tasting room, outside of Patterson, Washington. It is literally in the middle of nowhere but it is an absolutely gorgeous country setting that provides a nice respite from the city.
I had the chance to interview Columbia Crest superstar winemaker Juan Munoz Oca a few weeks back. His new release wines were absolutely gorgeous, none more so than their impressive 2013 ‘Walter Clore Reserve' (WWB, 93), which over-delivers at its price point and offers gobs of rich dark fruit and a silky texture. Another new release red wine that impressed for the price is the 2014 Columbia Crest ‘Gold Label’ (WWB, 90) that continues to be one of the great values in wine. It is hard to find the density and fruit weight in a red wine at this price. Consistently one of the best bargains in Washington wine, their 2014 Columbia Crest ‘H3’ Cabernet (WWB, 90) shows nice dark fruit flavors and remains one of the best value Cabernet wines in the United States today. Look for these wines at Costco as well as most Northwest supermarkets. Learn more about Columbia Crest wines at columbiacrest.com Here are the great new value release wines by Columbia Crest.
2014 Columbia Crest 'Grand Estates Unoaked' Chardonnay- This bright colored wine opens with aromatics of peach pit, vanilla custard and hints of brioche. There are rich flavors of banana, pineapple, white peach and creme brulee. With a rich texture and polished mouthfeel, this is just an awesome value Chardonnay. Drink 2016-2021- 90
2014 Columbia Crest 'Crowdsourced' Cabernet-Columbia Crest has created this wine through the ideas articulated by their online community, as the online members consistently weigh in regarding the winemaking of this Cabernet. This inaugural vintage is a huge success. The 2014 'Crowdsourced' Cabernet by Columbia Crest is an excellent bottling, sourced from the Horse Heaven Hills, which sat 16 months in 30% new oak barrels prior to bottling. Coming from a great vintage for Cabernet, the wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Merlot. This wine opens with aromas of black tea, coffee grounds and black cherry with black olive accents. The palate has a nice mineral streak, with rich flavors of black olive, black cherry, anise and coffee grounds. This Cabernet shows nice poise from this hot vintage. Drink 2016-2021- 90
2014 Columbia Crest 'Grand Estates Gold' Red Wine- The 2014 'Grand Estates Gold' is a compellingblend of 46% Cabernet Franc, 36% Syrah, 17% Malbec, and 1% Other. The red blend comes out of the bottle an inky, glass staining dark purple. There are dense aromas of boysenberry, wet gravel, and violet on the nose. The wine spent 14 months in 58% new oak, and the mild coconut and vanilla flavors enhance rather than overwhelm this wine. The finish offers the minerality from the Syrah and the herbaceousness from the Cabernet Franc. This is a surprisingly complex wine and a fantastic value buy. Drink 2016-2021- 90 (S.L.)
2014 Columbia Crest 'H3' Merlot- This well-made Merlot bottling begins with aromatics of tasted herbs and boysenberry on the nose. This Merlot offers a surprisingly complex but harmonious palate with notes of blackberry, raspberry, bramble, dill, and vanilla. The wine finishes with velvety tannins and a little bit of cocoa powder. Drink now, but like previous H3 Merlots, it will cellar well in the short-term .Drink 2016-2021- 89 (S.L.)
2014 Columbia Crest 'H3' Cabernet-Columbia Crest has gained a sterling reputation for outstanding values out of Washington State, and this wine is no exception. This excellent Cabernet is blended with 16% Merlot. Immediately you’ll notice the aroma of cherries and blackberries bursting out of the glass. The wine continues to exude more ripe berries and cherry pie on the palate with the subtle addition of leather and even a hint of tobacco. The Cabernet finishes with a moderate tannic structure and a smooth, ripe fruit ending with a slight mineral streak in the background. This Cabernet would pair beautifully with most red meats, but the Cabernet also has potential to pair nicely with chocolate focused desserts. While the blend of the Columbia Crest 'H3' Cabernet changes from year to year (typically it’s well over 90% Cabernet), the winemaking has resulted in a remarkably consistent wine and if you’ve enjoyed H3 Cabernet in past years, you’re sure to enjoy the 2014 as well. Drink 2016-2022- 90 (S.L)
2013 Columbia Crest ‘Walter Clore Reserve’ Red Wine- The 2013 Columbia Crest 'Walter Clore Reserve' Red Wine is an exceedingly good wine from this estate and is up there with the best 'Walter Clore' wines that I have sampled in the past decade. The wine is a silky blend of 64% Merlot, 34% Cabernet with the remainder Cab Franc and Malbec. This impressive red blend begins with baking spices, prune, black cherry and black olive on the nose. The palate has dense flavors of blackberry pie, black cherry, black olive and mocha. Dense, chewy and balanced, this is gorgeous right now and shows nice viscosity on the mid-palate. There is a seamless quality to this wine that reminds me of the rich, yet elegant 2004 'Walter Clore' bottling. Drink 2016-2026- 93