2005 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon

Columbia Crest’s H3 Cabernet has been garnering a lot of attention as a good Q.P.R. (Quality to price ratio) wine so I decided to give it a whirl and see what all the hype was about. I’ve seen this bottle retail from $11 up to $15 so it really does fall into that mainstream pricing that many folks are comfortable paying for. Columbia Crest has a history of releasing excellent wines for the money – does this one hold up?

Technical Details:

  • Grapes were crushed at 20% whole-berry to retain fruit quality.
  • Fermentation lasted 7-14 days on the skins to extract optimum fruit and structural components.
  • Various yeasts were used to maintain fruit flavors and complexity.
  • Malolactic fermentation occurred in stainless steel tanks and oak barrels.
  • Blending occurred shortly after malolactic fermentation.
  • The wine was barrel aged in 40% new American and French oak, and 60% older oak for 14-18 months.
  • Total acidity: 0.58 g/100ml
  • pH: 3.75
  • Alcohol: 14.3%
  • Price: $15

Nose: Chocolate, plums and cherries for days with allspice, clove and hints of tobacco round things out. Additionally, I also pick up hints of some baseball glove at the end.

Taste: Excellent fruit-forward action with the cherries, blackberries and plums which open up to some good mid-palate spice with the cloves and some nice rose petal flavors on the back-end. The finish lingers on quite nicely and overall I feel this wine is an excellent QPR bottle.

Overall Summary:
Considering the price of this wine, I’m going to have to give it high marks – it has everything I’m looking for in a well-priced wine value. Excellent fruit, decent complexity and a long finish – why other wineries who compete in this price range can’t figure that out is beyond me. I’ve got to hand it to Ray Einberger and his team up there at Columbia-Crest – they sure know how to churn out the good vino and keep the prices down.

Would pair well with:
Grilled Steaks
Pot Roast
Cedar Plank Salmon
Salmon stuff with crab-meat in a green peppercorn sauce
Mixed herb-green salad with feta cheese, toasted pecans and dried cherries

W.E.P. Scale Rating: 100%