Ya know, I have not been reading many wine magazines lately, as the internet has been my education tool lately. But, being in Ohio in Spring where the weather has been quite cool the past few days, I picked up a few copies of Wine Spectator, Wine and Spirits and Quarterly Review of Wines magazines to pass some time indoors. Paging through and trying to pass up all the advertising pages, now I know why I prefer the internet, one wine kept jumping out at me from each magazine. Of course, the sections that I go to most are the value for the money sections because I just cannot see myself paying hundreds of dollars for collectible wines. I do not "lay down" any wines. I want to drink the wine I purchase! I do find it interesting to read about these collectibles, but they are out of my league. OK, back to the wine that kept jumping out at me.
The 2004 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot from Columbia Valley in Washington State is the wine I am speaking about. Now my husband is a die hard (drinks a bottle every nite) fan of the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon. I am not a big Cabernet drinker, but have had a glass or two with him and it is a nice Cab for the price. So I thought, well, the Merlot is getting high ratings so let's give it a try. Now again, I am not a rating type person, although when I started my "drinking career" many years ago before the internet, I would depend on the wine periodicals to steer me in a direction. So with magazine in hand, I would visit my friend at the local wine shop and we would pick out my wines for the week. Back to the wine at hand as I think I am chatting a little much.
Columbia Crest Merlot is comprised of 96% Merlot, 3.5% Cabernet and .5% Cabernet Franc grapes with an alcohol content of 13.5%. I found this fact interesting -"During harvest a third of the fruit from the distinguished vineyards selected for this Merlot are not crushed. These whole berries are added to the wine during fermentation to create a unique aromatic and flavorful style with a soft texture". This wine I found does have a nice soft texture, as the tannins are nicely refined. On uncorking the wine, aromas of blueberry seemed to catch my attention. But on tasting the wine, I definitely would say I was tasting juicy plum flavors with a hint of that blueberry. The wine had a nice mouth feel and finish. At at price anywhere from $11-$13, depending where you purchase, I would recommend this 90 point rated (Wine Spectator) wine. I served it with good ol' spaghetti and meatballs, a good midweek comfort food. It went nicely with it, but maybe just a tad weak for the sauce. (I usually like a zinfandel with heavy tomato sauces). But it did make an excellent sipping wine for a "chilly" spring evening in Ohio. Now, back to the internet!