Columbia Crest H3 Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills

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Columbia Crest H3 Merlot is a red wine made in the Horse Heaven Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA) which is located in the the south east of Washington State. It is part of the larger Columbia Valley AVA and was founded relatively recently in 2005.

Columbia is one of the most famous of Washington State’s wineries and was founded in 1983. The winery is located alongside the Columbia River in eastern Washington, Columbia Crest is the Northwest’s largest winery and one of the world’s most highly acclaimed.

The vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills (H3 – geddit?) are relatively dry with less precipitation than some regions due to the rain shadow effect from the surrounding Cascade Mountain range. The vineyards are located on south-facing slopes that provide excellent sun exposure for grape ripening, and protection from cold airflow during the winter months. Strong wind patterns in the Horse Heaven Hills reduce canopy size and density and contribute to even ripening by moderating temperature extremes. They winds also help to decrease the occurrence of mould and fungus.

The grapes for the Columbia Crest H3 Merlot were crushed and then fermented 7-14 days on the skins to extract optimum fruit and structural components. Malolactic fermentation occurred in stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. The wine was barrel aged in 62% older oak and in 38% new oak barrels, both French and American, for approximately 17 months.

The 2013 is 96% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.


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