Thursday, October 14, 2010

2008 Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills Merlot

The name Horse Heaven Hills invokes images of rolling green pastures where both horses and people can run free. I can almost feel the wind in my mane, err I mean hair and smell the grassy scents as I run up and down the hills. I’m tired after all that running and I’m thirsty. Good thing I brought a picnic basket to my fantasy world and it contains a sample bottle of 2008 Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills Merlot.

Aromas of earthy berries, vanilla and tobacco tantalize the senses. Flavors are full of blackberries and chocolate, loads of berry flavors lends itself to a slightly sweet finish. A very nice, easy drinking wine.

Blend - 92% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, A "kiss" of Syrah
Total Acidity - 0.56 g/100ml
pH - 3.70
Alcohol - 14.5%
Barrel Aging - French & American oak (14-18 months)
33% new, 67% older
Price - $15

My vision of Horse Heaven Hills, known as H3, was slightly off, there are no longer horses roaming freely but the region does have 30% more wind than any other Washington State appellation. That wind is helpful in controlling the vine canopy as well as cooling temps in the hot summers. The H3 vineyards are located east of the Cascade Mountain range, providing another benefit as the high mountains block most of the wet weather systems moving in from the east.

The region was first discovered by James Kinney in 1857. After finding his horse grazing on the grassy hillside, he dubbed the area Horse Heaven. Home to Columbia Crest since the 1980’s, the H3 tier is the winery’s contemporary interpretation of the classic varietals grown in the H3 region.

I look forward to sampling the rest of the Columbia Crest line and reporting my findings and wine fantasies to you soon, so stay tuned.

2010© Kellie Stargaard. All Rights Reserved.

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