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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Exploring Columbia Crest H3 with ThirstyGirl & Leslie Sbrocco

We were invited to participate in the monthly #TGTaste with Leslie Sbrocco featuring wines from the Columbia Crest Winery H3 brand - specifically three wines from Washington State's Horse Heaven Hills AVA. This area is located in south-eastern Washington and is surrounded by the Columbia Valley AVA and Yakima Valley AVA to the North and the Columbia River to the South. It is responsible for 25% of grapes harvested in the Evergreen state and 100% of the grapes in the wines we received. Winemaker Juan Munoz Oca explains that this AVA gives whites more minerality and reds more cocoa, earth and dust notes.

The first wine poured was the Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay ($15) made from 100% whole berry whole berry pressed Chardonnay with 75% fermented in various types of oak barrels. The result is a very interesting and unique Chardonnay. Yes, it possesses that characteristic Chardonnay flavors, including green apple and even some pineapple, as well as some silky creamy texture from the oak treatment. What distinguishes this wine is a spicy - almost nutmeg - finish - that really alters the tasting experience. Not really sure how to handle the finish. But after breathing the spiciness became more subtle

The second wine was the Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon ($15) , 97% cab of pure enjoyment. It's medium bodied which oozes cherries with a velvety mid-palette, and a  smooth, soft finish - very little tannins. What an easy drinking wine - and this one came with those cocoa notes. But what about the other 3%? According to Oca, the 1% Cabernet Franc provides herbal notes to the nose and adds layers of fruit and depth. Not bad for a 1 percent-er.  And the 2% Merlot provides some backbone & structure.

The final wine was the Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Les Chevaux Red ($15) - a Merlot dominant blend augmented with Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah. Named in honor of the AVA, "the Horses" is also a smooth cherry flavored wine with more acidity than the Cabernet Sauvignon as well as a slight tobacco. This seemed to be the #TGTaste favorite - this writer excluded.

Cheers to Columbia Crest and H3.

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