Columbia Crest 2015 Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley $12

Best Buy! The warmest growing season on record in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills and the Wahluke Slope paved the way for Juan Muñoz Oca and his team at Columbia Crest to create one of the West Coast’s biggest bargains in the Cabernet Sauvignon category. Classic aromas of black currant, blackberry and plum are rounded out with a hint of dark-roasted espresso. Those currants and plums make their way to the palate, joined by bright notes of strawberry and ripe watermelon. Its profile is juicy and plush with chocolaty tannins. As a result, judges, who were unaware of its price, awarded it a gold medal at the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition this fall in Hood River, Ore. Enjoy with a tomato-based pasta, duck breast, blue cheese, dark chocolate or New York strip and a baked potato topped with bacon bits. The 2014 vintage was the No. 2 most popular wine among consumers on Wine.com’s 2017 Top 100 list.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 300,000 cases

Alcohol: 13.5%

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