Gwendolyn Alley, MA (@ArtPredator) October 11, 2012
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Que Syrah Sue and I participated in the Thirsty Girl Twitter Tasting of three wines from Columbia Crest’s Horse Heaven Hills: their 2012 Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a predominately merlot red blend. We thought all three were decent values at around $10; our favorites are the merlot blend, followed by the chardonnnay, and trailing in third is the cabernet.
We first tasted the Horse Heavens Hills 2010 Chardonnay. We thought it was more California-like than typical northwest style Chardonnay: very oaky (fortunately not like sucking on wood) and it made us both pucker and salivate. Very mild in terms of oak and fruit, almost bland, it would not fight with food. We tried it with St. Andre triple cream brie on fresh french baguette and were very impressed with how the creamy brie went with the creamy chard. The creamy cheese toned down the oak and mellowed everything out.
We could drink this wine all year and would bring it to a summer BBQ or a holiday party; it would even work with a first course at a holiday meal.
Very friendly, the 2010 H3 Chardonnay plays well with others.
This wine does better with savory than sweet foods; we enjoyed it with an olive tapenade. With entrees, it would pair well with creamy mushroom or chicken sauces as well as buttery seafood dishes or salmon.
The Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet was not our favorite of the three. It was a bit too oaky on the nose and without a lot of fruit. However, the oak recedes when taking a bite of tapenade and then tasting the wine. Too much oak which kills the flavor of the fruit so it’s better with savory, briney foods like a puttenesca sauce or bolognese.
The Columbia Crest Les Chevaux 2010, a blend of mostly merlot with some cab and syrah, has the most impressive and expressive nose of the three: cherry, raspberry, cocoa, oak — very nice bouquet and a nice fruit forward flavor. Nicely blended, this wine can stand alone as well as pair with many foods. We loved it with a hearty bolognese but we could imagine it with BBQ meat or salmon. Pleasing to the palate, this wine would be an affordable winner at a big family reunion where you want to serve a nice wine to a large group of people. This would fit the price point and please a large cloud. The bottle looks nice and the wine tastes great. It can even stand up to blue cheese on a plate or in a salad dressing. This is a very versatile wine with a pretty color in the glass. The name means “the horses.”
I wish I’d realized when I was planning the menu for the after dinner tasting that the red blend was mostly merlot because I would have bought and grilled salmon which would have been tasty with the chardonnay or the blend. However, the salad with blue cheese dressing and the pasta with bolognese worked well enough with the wines.
Thanks to Thirsty Girl for inviting us to play–and for arranging the wine samples! We look forward to next month’s tasting of organic 2011 Bonterra Chardonnay and 2010 Bonterra Merlot on Fri. Nov 2 at 5pm!