Thursday, January 13, 2005

Columbia Crest Is Best: Where are the Rest? (NW)

Columbia Crest Winery is setting precedent. Over and over again, their bargain-priced every day wines are wowing critics and pleasing a broad range of wine drinkers. I believe this winery is currently setting the new standard for quality low-priced American wines. They were first recognized in Wine Spectator in 1997 as the best value-priced winery in America. And it's not in California! Columbia Crest is located in Patterson, Washington, and offers three lines: Reserves ($25-30), Grand Estates ($11-15), and Two Vines ($6-9). These three lines cover numerous varietals and blends, many of which are available nationally. You will likely find these wines in restaurants, wine shops, grocery stores, and liquor stores in your area. When I say bargain, I mean absolutely low-priced! Many of their most enjoyable wines are in their lowest-end line, Two Vines (formerly known as Columbia Valley, if you happen upon that). Typical prices are $6-9, which makes me feel like I'm stealing. Do I feel this way because I've been manipulated into believing good Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay from California should cost at least $20? In somes ways, this is the case for many of us who are looking for good value domestic juice. If you're like me, lately, you're turning toward Australia, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa when you want quality for under $10. As a result, the precedent being set by Columbia Crest is that a full line of quality domestic wine can be achieved for under $10 per bottle. This is great news and will encourage more of the same. Raise a glass! NW

Highly recommended, especially due to the overall price-to-quality ratio:
Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon (numerous vintages)
Columbia Crest Two Vines Shiraz (2001, 2002)
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay (numerous vintages)

Recommended, due to the price-to-quality ratio for this caliber of reserve wine:
Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (1998-2001)
Columbia Crest Reserve Syrah (1996-2002)
Columbia Crest Reserve Merlot (1998-2001)


Anonymous said...

Columbia Crest is Best by Test! Here's lookin at you kid!

Louis Kaye said...

I have been drinking wine for over 20 years and have never opened a bad bottle. Their Grand Estates could actually use some short term cellaring. Fabulous stuff. On the same level has been Concha Toro from Chile. For a few bucks more their Marque label is like Grand Estates on steroids. Both wineries in my opinion are the best bang for the buck.