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Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2006 Washington

This Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot is very dark

in the glass; I'm slowly beginning to realize that that's maybe a Merlot thing. On the nose, this is mostly dark cherry and blackberry, and a hint of something . . . well. Else. It's a little closed, even a good twenty minutes after opening. The first thing I noticed on tasting this Merlot was a startlingly robust fruit fullness. Just on the safe side of not being so fruit dominant that it drowns out the hint of chocolate. It's a 13.5 % ABV, and yes, this is the basic mid-tier wine for Columbia Crest. The 2006 is this year's release, so I don't know but what it might be very different by, say, June. I plan on trying it again though; this was tantalizingly promising, and, well, I'm a die-hard Columbia Crest fan. I note that Sean Sullivan has some fairly positive things to say about the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2006; do read the comments as well. I'm thinking about trying including this particular Merlot in a casual Washington and California Merlot comparison with a California Merlot fan. I'd also like to try comparing it with Columbia Crest's base tier equivalent, the Two Vines Merlot. Two Vines is generally available at around $5.99; the Grand Estates at around $10.00.