Columbia Crest 2003 Grand Estates Merlot (Columbia Valley (WA))

Best Buy

With 200,000 cases produced, this is the benchmark Merlot for the state, if not the country. The newest release needs a bit more time in the bottle; it has been stiffened up with the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and a dash of Cab Franc, and it is showing its tannic, herb and olive components currently. Some cherry and strawberry fruit is lurking below, along with green tea flavors in the finish. Paul Gregutt

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