Columbia Crest Pinot Grigio

My friends in Oregon have eloquently described wine of the Willamette Valley with due diligence. I’ve been engrossed in their literary prowess, craving the very wine they recommend. What I’ve noticed is a rapid exchange of Oregon wine cycling in and out of my wine rack. The problem you ask; a light layer of dust has immersed itself on bottles deserving equal tasting time and literary love. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m talking about the wine of my region, Washington Wine.

I’ll start with two bottles, yes two, which my wife recently surprised me with. She not being a wine connoisseur, recently asked “What wine do you like?” I explained “Anything Pinot”, thinking it would ease her frustration in a more than convoluted wine aisle at our local market. What she selected were the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Pinot Grigio 2005, and 2006 editions.

My introduction to the Columbia Crest Winery was at a wedding several years ago. While watching nuptials exchange, my thoughts moved to wine, and a growing concern that the Columbia Crest Winery was more a tourist attraction than a winery. Less than a year ago, my wife and I enjoyed a Murder Mystery Dinner Train which again took us to the winery. Thoughts of commercialism solidified, yet multiple tasting sessions appeased the palate and kept me coming back for more.

A late evening treat awaited, and I first opted for the 2005 edition. I was welcomed by the subtle flavor of acidic fruits, like peach and citrus, noting each flavors distinct presence. Winemaker Ray Einberger describes the wine as being crisp and clean. I agreed. After several sips, a light layer of tartness evolved to some dismay. No blame to Columbia Crest on this as it's to be expected when drinking an acidic wine.

I followed up the next night, drinking the 2006 edition. First impressions included an overall sweeter taste, which makes sense considering a slight increase in the sugar count compared to the 2005 edition. Much of the same flavors evolved, noting more satisfaction in this glass over the other.

I’ll admit some reluctance in using the Columbia Crest label for my introductory post. Its powerful role in the Washington Wine region, alongside its neighboring Woodinville winery, Chateau St. Michelle, can be equated to the analogous role exhibited by Starbucks and Tully’s. While the debate over large wineries versus small ones can continue another time, I must give credit where credit is due. Columbia Crest Winery continues to provide a wine at an unavoidable price point, less than $15.00, and I can’t help but realize that I keep coming back for more. While I may not select this Pinot Grigio again, the Columbia Crest label will almost always hold a spot in my wine rack.

Bottoms up!


Josh Gana said...

Excellent analysis, sir!

Anonymous said...

Columbia Crest is not in Woodinville - that is the Columbia Winery, not Columbia Crest.