Thursday, January 10, 2013

Weekly Wine Review - Red Blend - 2010 Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux

Before I became a wino and needed to (gasp) pick out a bottle of wine for some special occasion, I remember Columbia Crest as the brand where all grape varieties cost the same - I think it was $6.99 at the time.  As that was about as much as I thought wine was worth at the time, I'm sure I have tried more than one from their lineup.  I have not however, tried anything recently, so I was intrigued when I read about their "H3" line named for the Horse Heaven Hills vineyard in Washington State.  Columbia Crest makes a few grape variety specific whites and reds in this H3 line, but I decided to give the "Les Chevaux" blend a try.  Continuing with the vineyard's name theme, Les Cheveux means "the horses" (sorry to any French 101 or Rosetta Stone French students - but I didn't know until I looked it up!)  This one is a blend of 80% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Syrah.  I have had great examples of all those varieties from Washington State (shout out to Charles Smith for his stellar creations), so was intrigued to try this blend.

Wine: 2010 Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux Red Blend
Region: Horse Heaven Hills, Washington State
Obtained from: Purchased at Total Wine & More
Price: $15.99
Wino4Life Category: Everyday Wine
Aeration before tasting: I thought this one might benefit from some extra aeration, so I broke out my Vinturi aeration gadget.

Cork Condition: Natural Cork - no defects or issues.
Appearance: Wine is clear with a dark, inky purple center with .
Aroma: The nose is very muted. I was expecting more from the blend of grape varieties, however the wine has a very pleasant aroma, with blackberries and a bit of earth and wood - but not the overly oaky nose that many wines at this price point may have.  I tried some without aeration, and I got next to nothing on the nose - so GO AERATION!!!
Taste: Very fruity, nicely balanced. I was expecting more complexity, but had to remind myself this is not a $50 Washington Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, but a $16 everyday wine. The wine has the smooth tannins (mouth drying feel) of a more expensive wine, and I think it would go nicely with a medium rare steak or even a hamburger (don't forget the blue cheese)!  The aftertaste is pure fruit - and there is nothing wrong with that!

The Grade: I give this one an A. These are the type of wine finds I truly enjoy. A $16 wine that gives you a glimpse of what Washington State grapes can produce.  If you like this one, try some other Washington wines for some variety beyond California. The H3 is not a super complex wine, but for the money a really nice find.


  1. An aromatically appealing wine with toasty oak spices, vanilla, dark, brambly berries, light gamey notes, and coffee. The palate has a creamy feel, loaded with oak and dark fruit flavors with impeccable balance. The oak is often at the fore here but for those looking for this style at a can’t-be-beat price, look no further. 80% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Syrah. Aged 18 months in French and American oak (33% new). 14.5% alcohol. 72,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Cheapest 2010 Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux


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