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Columbia Crest 2010 H3 Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, $15
Best Buy! Thirty years ago, Ste. Michelle moved to Paterson, Wash., and began making wine in this town overlooking the Columbia River from the Horse Heaven Hills. Several years ago, they launched this mid-level tier for Columbia Crest, and the wines under Juan Muñoz Oca continue to be among the best values in the Northwest. Enticing aromas of Nutella, black cherry, plums and toasted cherry wood evolve into rich and bold flavors of black cherry, blackberry and more plums. Its smooth midpalate, bright acidity and finish of chocolate-covered espresso beans make this a crowd-pleaser at any price.
Production: 64,000 cases