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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wine of the Week: Columbia Crest Reserve 2008

Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Time for another wine of the week post and this time in the WOTW spotlight is one of my favorite wines. I've been grabbing a couple bottles of this wine every year since their 2003 vintage and honestly folks, I'm impressed with it every year, I can highly recommend it to you without a moment of hesitation. That said, I'd recommend laying it down for a few years at the least, but it will really reward the patient in 10 years, hello 2018. But, if you can't resist, it's drinking nicely now, with loads of dense red and dark fruit, spice, cedar, framed on a solid structure.

I'm not sure what the price is outside of Costco, because this is the only place I've ever purchased mine. Speaking of price, the price of this wine has steadily and may I say sadly, has been going up year after year, this year it's selling for a whopping $36.99 moving into the "occasion-wine" category. This vintage is sold out at the winery [where it sold for $45], but a few Costco's still have it in stock, here in the San Diego market. That said, you better get off your rusty-dusty, if you'd like to secure a few bottles for the cellar. I buy this wine every year, there's no need to "taste-first", because my experience with their "reserve" label has taught me one thing, "just grab, it's going to be fab". Oh yes, for you folks keeping score, I hung 91 mouth watering points on this bad-boy.

Because I'm a wine-geek, keeping the empty bottles, like a Sci-Fi geek collecting action figures, this year I've noticed a few changes on the back [painted-on] label. One case production is up from the previous years, nearly seven thousand cases produced for the current 2008 release, this is still a small production run for a very popular, well made, fast-selling wine.

The second thing I noticed on the back label was the term, "le petit chai"; which means a small boutique winery operating on its own, within the larger frame work of Columbia Crest. A winery with broad brand recognition among the value oriented vino-sapiens. It's what they call the artisanal approach to winemaking, a homage if you will to small production or boutique wineries, even to top châteaux of Bordeaux if you really want to stretch it.

"We pick these wines to showcase the vintage rather than the house style, to express what happened during the season," Head Winemaker Juan Muñoz Oca, stated to Wine & Spirits.

The third thing I noticed is the use of the phrase "crafted in a classic Bordeaux style" something I've not seen used to describe this single vineyard Reserve wine in the past. What you have in this the 2008 vintage is a simple blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot, a classic left-bank style. Many vino-sapiens who like to think of themselves as "insiders" will smirk when they see the term "reserve" on any wine label. I believe rightfully so, because the term typically does not have any real significance. But in this case I believe Columbia Crest is using the term in the appropriate context, they easily meet the definition of the term as it was originally intended, as their reserve wines represent the finest 1% of their overall total production, with most of the fruit coming from a single vineyard source.

This wine is a run not walk, buy recommendation, remember those who hesitate, go home empty handed. As always, I'd recommend getting two bottles at the very least and more if you have the space or the coin. Try one now, just to see what all the fuss is about and sock the others away, then forget about them. If you want drink some now and drink often wines, then may I recommend a few bottles of Cam Huges 257 $15, which they still have in stock at the Morena Costco. Until next time folks, sip long and prosper cheers!

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