Columbia Crest 2012 H3 Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, $15
Best Buy! Juan Muñoz Oca and his red wine team work near the sleepy town of Paterson, and they’ve crafted a Washington Merlot that offers most everything one might hope for — including a bargain price. The nose hints at the richness in store with aromas of black cherry, black currant, plum and dark chocolate, with dusty blueberry and cola nut in the background. It’s a dark and lovely drink with black cherry, black currant and black plum, framed by sandy tannins and juicy acidity. That all adds up to a plush and approachable drink that should pair nicely with wild game, roasted lamb, grilled salmon or dishes featuring a tomato-based sauce.
Production: 63,000 cases