1.Columbia Crest H3 Merlot 2018 ($20.95) 91/100
It is rather odd that in the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s Vintages Catalogue for the August 13, 2022 release JamesSuckling.com gives the wine a 90 rating in a review dated July 12, 2021 stating it should be consumed now which is one year after the LCBO put it in its shelves.
On the nose black plums, blackberries, licorice, black cherry and a hint of lavender. A full-bodied wine which is running on just about zero tannins. Cocoa, blackberry with a bit of a burn due to a daunting 14.5% alcohol. Whereas many Washington wines have a very approachable character making them ideal for sipping this Merlot is somewhat austere and best suited for food. Just about any pasta with a rich local field tomato-based sauce with or without meat would suit this which means for most of the United States and Canada you better get cooking before those local field tomatoes are replaced by sick Mexican imports that are more like mush than tomatoes.
Drink last year (just kidding!)
(Columbia Crest H3 Merlot 2018 Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Columbia Crest, Paterson, Washington, $20.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 209874, 750 mL, 14.5%, RKS Wine Rating 91/100).
2. Joel Gott 2018 Washington Columbia Valley Red Wine ($25.95) 88/100
Joel Gott is known as a reliable quality producer of fair priced wines. This wine is a blend of 53% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Syrah, 2% Malbec and 1% Zinfandel. 75% of the wine was aged in New American oak and 25% in two-year-old American oak.
The new oak influence is definitely noticeable but not flashy or overpowering. Notes of blackberry, blueberry with a bit of licorice and root beer. On the palate the wine is firm and assertive. The high % of Merlot does not make the wine plush and smoky. There are some back of the throat tannins but overall, they are moderate. There is a slight brackishness to the wine and it finishes hot mixed with black cherry and a bit of cocoa.
(Joel Gott 2018 Washington Columbia Valley Red Wine, Joel Gott Wines, Napa, California, $25.95, 750 mL, 13.9%, RKS Wine Rating 88/100).
3. Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2018 ($22.95) 91/100
CSM is a well-known Washington State wine producer. You might want to say it is part of the Washington State Holy Grail! On the nose very dense blueberry. e.g. fresh blueberries and a wild blueberry pie brushed with a bit of tar. Blueberry a classic Cabernet Sauvignon tip-off!
On the palate yet more blueberry (with some blackberry) reminding me of the huge batch of blueberry jam I made in July and the freezer blackberry jam I made in late August. I would think for a change we can say this would match some Welsh Cheddar Cheese (Collier’s) with some blackberry jam on the side. Nothing hidden or camouflaged here. Straightforward, simplistic but delicious but ensure slightly chilled!
(Chateau Ste Michelle, Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2018, Chateau Ste Michelle, Patterson, Washington, $22.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 269357, 750 mL, 13.5%, RKS Wine Rating 91/100).