The Frugal Wino: Chardonnay From Heaven

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I made another trip to my local market to find a great deal on some vino and once again was blown away by how many options I had to choose from. This time I was craving some Chardonnay and found a great deal for one from our neighbors up north. Southern Washington has some amazing wines, it seems the whole area is teeming with gems just waiting to be found.

H3 is a collection produced by Columbia Crest Winery in Prosser, Washington. It is a collection of wines grown and produced in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA (American Viticulture Area) specifically, which is really what drew me to it.

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A cowboy, James Kinney, saw this area in the 1800’s and promptly called it Horse Heaven. It is located right near the Colombia River. This AVA has dry heat in the summer, and a low chill in the winter which can create really versatile wines. They are even lucky enough to not have problems with Phylloxera, a tiny bug that eats away the root of grape vines. Some of the top grapes grown and produced there are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Reisling, and of course, Chardonnay.

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Finding a good Chardonnay can be hit or miss. You can easily find one that is way too tart with too much acidity. On the other end of the spectrum, you can easily encounter one that is an oak bomb. I do appreciate some oak, but everything in moderation. The H3 2009 Chardonnay was perfect. I loved its balance. On the nose it smelled like oak and toasted hazelnuts. I could tell it was aged in oak barrels, but for just the right amount of time.

Tropical notes popped in this wine, with flavors of pineapple shining through. It had a crispness to it that was perfect for the early fall day I was enjoying it on. All in all it was smooth, and thoroughly enjoyable. It was the perfect balance of acidity and oak, like the love child of a California and Oregon Chardonnay.

According to the winemaker:

“Columbia Crest H3 wines were created to celebrate the winery’s rich heritage in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA as well as its innovative spirit with regards to winemaking and viticulture practices. Grapes from this distinctive appellation produce bold, well-balanced and seductive wines. Great care is taken to ensure that the uniqueness of the appellation’s terroir is expressed in each bottle of H3.”

This wine is a great value, on sale at my local market for only $9.99, usually $15. Although I would pay the full price any day. Cheers!

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