Wednesday, April 21, 2010

**** $ Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot, 2005, Columbia Valley, WA - Review and Rating

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Original Review, March, 2009: The Columbia Crest Grand Estates line is a label that shows up regularly as a contender in "best value" lists, especially for its shiraz and merlot varietals. Here we are sampling the 2005 merlot from Columbia Valley, which is blended with one-third whole-berry fermentation - wherein the grapes are not crushed before being added to the fermenting must.

In the glass, the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot is an even deep red, not really moving to opaque in the center, and not really moving to transparent at the edges.

The aromas are subdued, though deep and clean with a lightly oaked fruit.

On the palate, the oak flavor comes across in a smooth, mineral wash across the tongue, with just the lightest of acids lending lift and support. Tannins are a bit more notable, providing a bit of a slope for the dry, black cherry flavor to begin its slow fade. Very clean finish, ready for the next sip.

The Grand Estates Merlot shows wonderful balance and accessibility, only lacking the intensity that might make me sit up and take real notice. So I will offer two stars on the Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for this wonderfully balanced accessibility. All in all, I might turn to the Grand Estates Shiraz as my first choice in this line.

Updated review, about one year later, now five years from vintage date, April, 2010:   The color is consistent; though the aromas come through now as a much more strongly scented fruited oak.  Sweet, rich, mineral on the palate, coming across with a blanket of powerful black cherry.  Tannins bring this to a clean but lingering finish.  Now the intensity has arrived along with the balance of flavors.  Four stars on the Spirit of Wine scale.  A huge leap from the two plus rating a year ago.  Ready to drink now! Awesome value.

Find Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot on WineZap.

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