The Columbia Crest Grand Estates Red Blend 2011 is 61% Merlot, 27% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% “other” sourced from vineyards in the Wahluke Slope AVA, the Horse Heaven Hills AVA (both inside the Columbia Valley AVA) and the Columbia Valley AVA of Washington State. Columbia Crest is owned by Chateau Ste Michelle, which is the largest wine producer in Washington (other labels include 14 Hands, Red Diamond, Erath and Snoqualmie). Their wines range from very expensive to value priced and a few years back a $40 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon was named Wine Spectators wine of the year. This grape varietals in this Red Blend were fermented separately (both oak barrels and stainless steel was used for fermentation) and the wine was aged 16 months in French and American oak barrels, 25% of the barrels were new and the rest used. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a see-thru crimson red. The nose is a mix of red berries and oak spice. This is a smooth, lush Red blend. It tastes of soft, rounded cherries, cocoa powder, raspberry, licorice and plum. The mid-palate brings a little vanilla and a hint of spice. The tannins are well-integrated, the acidity is balanced and the finish is full and long.
Washington State is known for their ripe, rich, but balanced Red wines and the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Red Blend 2011 does a fine job of upholding that tradition. This is a solid wine that will pair well with comfort foods, pot roast, spaghetti with meatballs or gourmet burgers. A lush, smooth, soft approachable wine, that has structure and character. Another fine example of excellent value priced (you should find it for around $10 to $14) wine from Washington State.