Monday, February 11, 2013

Columbia Crest 2009 Les Chevaux (Washington)

I find myself drawn to the Horse Heaven Hills line of wines from Columbia Crest, known as H3, especially the reds - I have a number of these wines in my cellar.  One of the more unique is the "Les Chevaux" blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc ... doesn't particular sound unique - I bet there's a hundred wineries making a blend very similar in the US alone - but it's the region that's unique, which was established as an American Viticulture Area in 2005.  According to the H3 Wine Growers Website: "Cowboy James Kinney named this area in 1857 after discovering his herd of horses eating the native grasses on the hillside.  Proclaiming this is "Horse Heaven""The regions also has the distinction of being "proud home of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th "100" point wine,  2002-2003-2005-2007 of Washington State".  The wine spends 18 months in a mix of French and American oak of which 1/3 is new, but it is not overwhelmed with oak - in fact the oak acts as seasoning and rarely shows its hand.  The nose is blackberry, cinnamon and with hints of blueberry - the palate is much more expressive with its dark berries, cinnamon, vanilla, black cherry and dark raspberries, pipe tobacco, anise, cocoa and yes, just the merest hint of oak.

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