Good evening, fellow Wine Lovers! And Happy Merlot Monday (or Malbec Monday… what is your preference?). Due to a birthday celebration last night which did involve lots of good beer, my Sunday night wine post was pushed back a day. I had recently promised a friend that my next review would be on a “true Merlot” (vs. a red blend with Merlot in it). I try to keep my promises, and to properly celebrate this Monday, I bring you Horse Heaven Hills (H3) 2009 Merlot from the Columbia Crest Winery. If you have read my blog before, you may recall I had reviewed a Cabernet Sauvignon by H3 (http://wp.me/p2snf4-12), in which I highly recommend you try. If you haven’t read it, I hope you do! I do greatly enjoy H3 wines, and tonight is no exception.
The H3 Merlot 2009 is deep purple in color, much like the seal around the neck of the bottle. On the nose is an enticing aroma of blackberries, spice, and earth; a beautiful bouquet indeed! Taking the first sip, and you sink deeper with rich flavors: earth and cherries, with the earth becoming more pronounced (though not overbearing) the longer the glass sits. The finish is smooth, and lingers with warm, rich cocoa flavors. The H3Merlot is a well-done, complex wine, in that the longer it sits, the more the flavors and aromas take shape. I did not let the bottle sit for more than 10 minutes before taking my first sip, though the wine did get a chance to
sit for a while as I waited for my husband to fix my glitchy computer. It was in this time I noticed the more pronounced leathery taste on the front as it mixed with the cherries. Composed of 96% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec.
My first thought when I stuck my nose into the glass was, “Exciting!!” and I feel this wine carried through to the end. I was in the middle of preparing a quick pasta dinner to go with this wine, but I feel it stands strong on its own. Since it is on the lighter side of a medium-bodied wine, I am glad I decided to not grill up a steak as I don’t know if the H3 could holds its own against something heavy. But I promise, I will try them together next time I want a steak! I did finally eat a nice salad, but I did otherwise “skip dinner and go straight to dessert.” I have added this wine to my list of wines to keep on hand at all times (the others being H3 Cabernet Sauvignon, Headsnapper Malbec, and anything by Cline Cellars I can get my hands on).
In conclusion, the 2009 H3 Merlot is a magnificent wine for the price (approximately $15 in stores and online at http://www.columbiacrest.com). It’s full of rich flavors and stands well on its own or with a meal. This bottle was awarded the Silver medal at the 2012 Seattle Wine Awards (Gold Winners for Merlot included Columbia Crest Grand Estates, the parent to H3; Maryhill Winery also took home a Gold medal for its Merlot). Yes, I greatly enjoy the H3 line. No, I have no affiliation to them whatsoever beyond residing in the same great state.
Columbia Crest H3 2009 Merlot: ★★★★ Great wine!
Winemakers Notes: The H3 Merlot opens with aromas of raspberries, black pepper and earthy tones which lead to flavors of chocolate covered cherries and plum preserves on the silky smooth palate. The flavors and aromas cumulate in to an intense – yet elegant – finish.
Thanks for reading and Happy Drinking!
Have you tried this wine before? Please share your thoughts on it in the comments below!