In continuation from last week, where the 5th most popular winery searched for on Wine Spectator was Silver Oak, we move this week to the 4th – Columbia Crest.
4. Columbia Crest “World Renowned. Washington Grown.” (Website)
Since it’s first vintage in 1984, this relatively new Washington winery continues to dazzle the palates of wine reviewers like Wine Spectator, earning high marks every year on many of it’s offerings. What began as a dominate white wine house under the thumb of winemaker Doug Gore, Columbia Crest has expanded to today’s 19 different labels, ranging from the Walter Clore Private Reserve, a Bordeaux-style red wine, to a Semillion Chardonnay blend. Since 1993, the wines have been made by Ray Einberger.
The winery has an impressive list of milestones, including 12 wines landing on Wine Spectator’s top 100 list since 1997.
The climate is unique in the Columbia Valley, wherein the vineyards are sheltered from heavy rainfall by the Cascade Mountians, a welcome change from much of Washington States ‘normal’ weather. Phylloxera, the root louse that can wipe out regions of vineyards, is not present in the area. That has allowed the winery to keep the native rootstock from each vine, with no need to graft phylloxera resistant stock to their plants.
The wines are all very reasonably priced and most very drinkable. I’ve taken a bottle of the Grand Estates Chardonnay to an under $10 Chardonnay tasting and had it come out on top.
The company is under the umbrella of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates which also includes Chateau Ste. Michelle, Domaine Ste. Michelle, Snoqualmie, Col Solare, NorthStar, Stimson Estate Cellars and Red Diamond, and from Napa – Conn Creek and Villa Mt. Eden.
I personally recommend the Reserve Merlot, at around $30 USD, it’s a great value, and a very respectful effort.
A self-guided tour of the winery and complimentary tastings are available seven days a week, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
P 509.875.2061 Hwy 221, Columbia Crest Drive Paterson, Washington 99345 (Map)
Are we seeing a theme yet between Silver Oak and Columbia Crest? Why are their wines so searched for? They both offer tours, have had 2 different wine makers, have very nice websites, and make a lot of wine. Nothings jumping out at me yet.
We’ll keep going next week and take a look at Lewis, I’m sure we’ll discovery the thread between these 5 wineries before we get to Caymus.