January’s Virtual Tasting – the 2006 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot – is one that everyone can take part in no matter where you may be. This wine receives nationwide distribution and can be found in most grocery stores and even many convenience stores.

Columbia Crest’s Grand Estates Merlot is an enigma. The winery, based in Paterson, Washington, produces 300,000 cases of this wine annually. That is more than most of the other wineries in Washington combined. Yet three of the last five vintages have received a 90 point rating from Wine Spectator, with one vintage even featured in their annual Top 100. For a wine that retails for $12 and that can often be found in the $8 to $9 range, this is an incredible accomplishment making it, consistently, the best value wine in Washington. How does Columbia Crest do it? That is for them to know and for us to enjoy.

The 2006 vintage recently made its way on to the shelves. If you only see the 2005, no matter. We will be conducting what we like to call a “poor man’s vertical” and sampling the 2005 as well. The tasting will take place on Thursday January 29th. As usual, I will be cracking the wine at about 7pm and looking to get my notes up around 9pm. Please join us in trying the wine and posting your notes.

Read notes from other virtual tastings below.

December 2008 Virtual Tasting

November 2008 Virtual Tasting

October 2008 Virtual Tasting

September 2008 Virtual Tasting

August 2008 Virtual Tasting