Columbia Valley tagged posts

Under $12 Deals: Bookwalter Notebook NV-2 ($9.95)

March 6, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Bookwalter Notebook Red Wine NV2I've often written that value-priced Cabernet-based wines from California should generally be avoided.  Most of those wines have made their money on the reputation of the grape, not on the quality of what's in the bottle.  So, let's say you're looking for a great Cab-based wine and you don't want your hard-earned dollars lining the pockets of some beret wearing Frenchman.  Where do you turn?  Washington.

This particular wine from high-end producer J. Bookwalter is a very interesting blend of both multiple grape varietals and multiple vintages.  The goal is consistency from year to year.  It contains 18% Syrah, 33% Merlot, 42%, Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% other varieties from the following vintages: 7% 2011, 69% 2010, 7% 2008, 4% 2007, 13% Other.  Champagne producers use the exact same

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A 91 pt Washington Cabernet Under $15 – Chateau Smith 2009

March 9, 2012 Daily Drinkers  No comments

I'm tired of being disappointed with the Cabernet I try in the under $20 price range.  Most are made of remnant or bulk wine, which is by definition sub-par.  So when I saw a 91 point rating awarded to this Washington Cab, I had to give it a try.

Charles Smith could very well be confused with Sammy Hagar with his golden mop and bold personality. Naturally, he applies that rock star attitude to his wine with bold labels and crazy names.  I love Sammy Hagar and Charles Smith, but I could deal without the shtick because he doesn't need it - the wines speak for themselves.  His K Vintners wines receive massive scores and his value priced label, simply called Charles Smith Wines, is all about value without pretension.  If this Cabernet is any indication, Smith is on the right track.


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A 90 Point Cabernet under $10 – Columbia Crest H3

November 28, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

I just got back from a vacation in St. Thomas where everything, including wine, is obscenely expensive.  As I was standing in the  aisle of the local supermarket, Food Center, the wine I picked without hesitation was a Columbia Crest Chardonnay.  Sure, it was 150% the cost of the same wine here in the U.S. but even at that price it was still absolutely a great value.

Such is the case with nearly all of Columbia Crest's wines and year after year the Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Hills, labeled "H3" is a standout among standouts.  Napa needs to watch its back because a trojan horse (or rabbit), called Washington's Columbia Valley, is making wines that are every bit as good, though different, and much less expensive.

The 2009 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet is one of those incredible

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Top Notch Washington Cabernet – Efeste Big Papa $39.95 WS93

January 12, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  One comment

Tonight I made a three course spread culminating with short rib bolognese and homemade pappardelle pasta.  That pasta needed a big but elegant wine, and I picked the right one tonight.

Technically someone else picked it since last time I was in L.A. Wine Co. Steve told me I had to try this wine. He was absolutely right.  Efeste's (pronounced F S T) 'Big Papa' is made from old vine Cabernet, with vine age averaging 32 years.  That's impressive for Cabernet, which is usually replanted after 25 years due to significantly decreased yields.  The older vines make the wine more concentrated and naturally complex, lessening the need for intricate winemaking techniques.

Everything about this wine is textbook Cabernet from the beautiful deep ruby color to the complex creme brulee (read: new

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2007 Delille Cellars Doyenne Aix Proprietary Red- RP92 $26.95

January 10, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Have you discovered Washington wine yet?  If not, you are missing out on the United States' second largest and, arguably highest value wine region.  Cabernet seems to be firmly planted as the premier grape but Syrah is not far behind in terms of quality, if not popularity.  Doyenne, the Rhone blend label of Delille Cellars, has created a wine that's the best of both worlds, blending 35% Cabernet with 61% Syrah and a splash of Mourvèdre.

Vineyards rule in Washington as winegrowers have chosen to focus on building the reputation of the places the grapes are grown almost more than the brand of the wine.  Over half of the grapes in Doyenne's Aix Proprietary Red come from the famed Ciel du Cheval vineyard in Washington's Red Mountain AVA.  That pedigree certainly comes through as this wine

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Woodward Canyon Cabernet Artist Series #16- Washington’s 93 point value $29.95

December 7, 2010 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Woodward Canyon 2007 Cabernet Artist Series #16After having tasted a couple of outstanding, value priced Washington Cabernet in the last few months (Hogue $21.95 and Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells $11.95), I decided it was time to step it up a notch and drink a highly rated, but still high value example.  So on Friday, it was off to our favorite BYOB, Tin Roof Bistro (which also has a well priced wine list), for some burrata, beef short ribs and this  awesome 2007 Artist Series Cabernet.

None of those disappointed.  I knew good things were to come as soon as our favorite server, Nick, started pouring the deeply hued, opaque wine into the decanter.  I could smell the wine from across the table.  Mocha on the nose leads to rich chocolate complemented by good acidity and well integrated oak.  It's all brought together by a very

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Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet 2007- Another great wine under $10

April 19, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

Sunday is leftover wine night at this household and tonight we have a third of a bottle of 2007 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet and the same amount of 2007 Caymus Cabernet.  The Columbia Crest has been open since Thursday and it has only gotten better each day I've tasted it.  It's very rare for an entry level Cabernet to get any better after the first day, let alone the fourth, but that's why Columbia Crest isn't making average wines.

Much has been said about Columbia Crest on these pages in recent posts, so I will keep this relatively short.  The 2007 Grand Estates Cabernet is aromatic and pours a dark purple/red.  It's almost thick in the mouth- a great texture for a wine in this price range.   It has a little tannic bite that would suggest it will actually get better with a

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Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay 2008 WS90- Another Wine Under $10

March 29, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

I definitely drink more red wine than white.  But, I like to keep a bottle of white open either to start the evening or to drink with fish or chicken.  The great thing about white wines is you can readily find great values, under $10.

Chateau Ste. Michelle, in Columbia Valley,  is the second largest winery in Washington with production in the hundreds of thousands of cases.  It's fun to find great wine deals from small production wineries, but some smaller wineries lack consistency- great wine one year but when you try the next year, something is missing.  I've found that a lot of the big guys are big for a reason.  Beringer and Robert Mondavi in Napa and Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest in Washington come to mind as huge wineries that consistently produce great wines and great

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