1998 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot - Printable Version

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- newsguy - 01-14-2002 07:07 PM

i know much has been said about this wine, but i had it again this weekend after not drinking any for months and i had to reiterate how tasty this is -- and what a steal it is at $9-$10. it has a nose and taste of a much more expensive wine.

and WHAT a nose! deep scents of black cherry, blueberry, vanilla and spicy, smoky oak. tastes of same and a good finish that isn't disrupted by -- surprise --a mild dose of drying tannins. to me, this wine almost tastes more like a cab than a merlot. and i think the bottle will improve for another 2 years or so.

you can easily spend 2-3 times as much moolah and not get as good a merlot as this. for me, this is as good a P/Q wine as is out there. doug gore just continues to do amazing things with those washington state grapes. let's just hope the P doesn' start catching up to the Q ;-)

[This message has been edited by newsguy (edited 01-15-2002).]

- Innkeeper - 01-14-2002 08:33 PM

Had the '98 Cab again last night with a porterhouse. All you say, can be said for it.

- Drew - 01-15-2002 04:18 PM

Stop telling everybody!....... [img][/img]


- Tom 1960 - 01-18-2002 08:49 PM

I've recommended there excellent cab to friends but have yet to experience the merlot. These guys seem to put out quality product at a steal of a price. This will be my next purchase.

- Machforce1 - 02-25-2002 10:42 AM

I bought a bottle of this yesterday and I have to agree with what has been said. It is a very good wine, especially for the price. I couldn't believe it.

- Tom 1960 - 03-01-2002 08:40 PM

Got around to buying this for the first time a few days ago and what can I say but nice stuff. First the cab and now the merlot,these guys are producing some fine juice.

- newsguy - 02-10-2003 04:15 PM

had a bottle of this saturday night (along with garlic chicken w/ roasted pepper sauce) and i'd say this wine is peaking in '03. great stuff. all the elements, including the wonderful fruit, are well integrated and the tannins are much subdued. i think i have 4 or 5 bottles left, and will drink all but one this year. i'll save a bottle to drink in '04 just to see how it held up. i'd say drink 'em if you got 'em in the next 12 months or so, and enjoy!

- Thomas - 02-10-2003 08:29 PM

Have to agree about the price-quality-ratio of these wines. For a little more money, try Hedges Cabernet-Merlot. Good stuff too.

- newsguy - 05-06-2003 04:08 PM

had another bottle of this over the weekend, less than 48 hours after drinking the 97 burgess merlot...

even among much more expensive company, this 98 columbia crest grand estates is a standout. elements are in harmony, with even a bit more tannins that i remember the last bottle having. i will drink another bottle or two this year, then save my last couple bottles for next year. guessing this is close to the top of its game right now and will hold there a little while.

[This message has been edited by newsguy (edited 05-06-2003).]

- stevebody - 05-06-2003 04:20 PM

Here in Seattle, selling The Columbia Crest Grand Estates wines is difficult because they're so omnipresent in grocery stores that people think they're cheap plonk. I get people who stare at me as though I were a unicorn when the tell me they want a really great Merlot for under $20 and I hand them the CC. They invariably come back to thank me for the tip.

To Foodie's tip about the Hedges: did you mean the Cab-Merlot or the CMS, the Cab Sauv/Cab Franc/Merlot/Syrah thing? I haven't had the C-M in two vintages but the CMS (that's what it says on the bottle, FYI) is wonderful: big, spicy, balanced and great with all kinds of food.

One other bargain Merlot from WA, too - and I can't beieve I'm saying this - is the Hogue Genesis. I once told gary Hogue on the phone that I never tried to sell any of his wines because I thought they all sucked. I meant that, too. I thought he had gotten too big, too fast and wasn't paying enough attention to making each wine great. We argued this for 45 minutes before finally agreeing to disagree. This Merlot, then, tasted an awful lot like crow to me. It's great juice, rich, bright, jazzy, and beautifully made, and for about $12. Try it if you can find it.

- newsguy - 05-07-2003 01:11 PM

foodie: thanks for the hedges tip. i've had their three vineyards red, which i liked, but haven't seen a blend locally.

steve: yes, the CC grand estates is remarkable juice for the money. as for the hogue genesis, i tried that late at a huge tasting and liked it, despite my already fried taste buds. i am also a big fan of their vineyard select syrah. i think it's a tall order to find a better syrah for $12.99.

- zenda2 - 05-08-2003 06:59 AM

Re: Hedges - love their CSM as well as their more expensive juice. And for a SW, you can't beat their white blend. Delicious.

Re: the CC Grand Estates wines, very good wine for the money. IIRC, their website had a listing for Grand Estate Syrah, but I've never seen that wine locally. Looking forward to it, tho'.

- stevebody - 05-13-2003 06:08 PM

Don't go to great lengths to find that CC Syrah. It's good and a good value but not up to the standard of the Cab and Merlot. It's a bit lighter than a good WA Syrah should be and really doesn't deliver the power that a really nice Syrah has. In a year or two, I have no doubt, Doug Gore will figure out how to make this one as good as the other two but, for now, it's eminently skipable.

- newsguy - 11-12-2004 03:31 PM

my stash of the '98 CC merlot has been gone for more than a year, but i recently came across a '98 among the '00s on a grocery store shelf. i snagged it.

bright red in color, going to orange at the rim. a good initial nose of dusty cherry, with hints of earth, chocolate and spice. good entry, lightens a bit on the midpalate, but picks up strength for a very good finish. over time, spices took the lead on the nose and tongue, and a hint of vanilla snuck in. silky texture, medium body, VG fruit and complexity, fading acidity and no tannins. perfectly mature and perhaps even a bit on the downslope. drink 'em if ya got 'em. 88 points.

- Drew - 11-13-2004 02:02 AM

Great minds think alike. I popped my last bottle of the '98 Cab two nights ago and my notes are similar in respect to starting on the downslope.


- anabanana - 12-20-2004 02:55 PM

What do you think of the 2000 and 2001?

- newsguy - 12-20-2004 05:02 PM

hi ana: i've only had one bottle of the 2000 columbia crest merlot, but found it quite tasty. drinking great now, and after 2-4 hours in the decanter or a few years in the cellar will mature quite nicely. haven't tried the '01 yet, but from year to year, columbia crest simply does great things with merlot at this price point (and with cab and chardonnay, as well).