October Virtual Tasting - Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

The fun thing about tasting different wines is it allows you to figure out what you like. And what you don’t…

Columbia Crest is a mega-producer with national reach. For perspective, Columbia Crest made 295,500 cases of their 2005 Grand Estates Merlot. How they made that wine so enjoyable at that quantity and price point I will never understand.

The winery is located in Paterson, Washington and has a twenty-five year history of winemaking. The winery makes a number of different wine tiers including Two Vines, Grand Estates, and Reserve wines. The H3 wines – for Horse Heaven Hills – sits in between the Grand Estates and reserve wines.

This is the second year of the H3 label which the winery recently announced it was taking national. While I enjoyed the previous vintage, I found the 2006 disappointing. Alas…

Please join me in posting your notes and letting me know what you thought of this wine. Also let me know if you have suggestions for next month’s wine.







Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills 2006

A fairly good nose marked by black cherry, black pepper, coffee, and earth aromas. The taste is disappointing, especially on the mid-palate. While there are some decent oak and coffee notes, the wine is quite sharp and thin at points on the palate. These aspects seemed more pronounced over time. 14.2% alcohol.


Sean P. Sullivan

Please e-mail any comments or questions to wawinereport@gmail.com


  1. I paid $14 for this at QFC. On the nose, muted earth and dark fruit that opened up slightly with time. The palate really didn't deliver, with fruit that was somewhere between ungenerous and austere. Not much acid, moderate but unspectacular tannins, and a blast of heat on the finish.

    On Sean's scale, I would give this a + for the compelling nose and low price point. I'm probably being a bit generous, since I drank this while watching my beloved Phils win Game 1. I wouldn't seek this wine out to drink again.

  2. Pauly, go Phils. After watching my Red Sox go down to the (Devil) Rays, I'm sticking with the east coast team.

    I agree with the compelling nose and for that reason gave it a "+" at first blush. Over time though the taste dragged it down to a "." for me. Definitely not one I will be looking for again.

  3. First note that I have a cold so wouldn't say my palate was at its finest. Nose was interesting. Got coffee grinds and lots of black cherry. Some spice at times.

    Taste I REALLY disliked at first. Ok initially on the palate, but harsh on the mid-palate and finish. Almost offensive to me. After decanting it was less offensive, but still not good. I'd give it a dot on the Sullivan scale. A LOW dot though!

  4. bleh! ...maybe I'm becoming snobby

  5. I'm new to wine. This is only my third bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Although I'm significantly late in my response and certainly no expert I figure my input would still be welcome here none the less.
    My first Cab was a wonderful bottle of 2006 Fall Line ($30). I was so excited after this bottle that I ran out to try another Cabernet. My next choice was the 2006 H3. I thought it was so awful that I ran to Safeway (11pm) to grab a bottle of something else for comparison. I'm pleased to say that the 2006 Sagelands Cabernet that I picked up for $7 was significantly better on the palate than the $11 bottle of H3. I don't expect miracles in this price range but the sharpness of the H3 was incredibly disappointing. My bad experience is what led me to this blog. I sought out confirmation.

    I will say that the H3 had a lovely smell. Strawberry to me. Very fresh and inviting. But oh what a disappointing taste. I wish I found your blog sooner.

  6. Domino,

    Welcome to the wonderful world of wine! And it's never too late to take part in a Virtual Tasting. Thank you for posting your notes. I agree that the 2006 H3 was a complete disappointment. This was a surprise as the 2005 had been excellent. But that is what vintage differences will bring you. I agree that the 2006 Fall Line Cab is a good one. I have some notes on it that I have to get up. If you liked the Sagelands 2006 Cab, you might also like their Freddie's Blend as well. Click on the Label for Sagelands to see my notes on both of these wines.

  7. I know this is n older post, but I was wondering if anyone here who was dissapointed with the 2006, has tried the 2007 h3 yet??
    We just did a wine review on the H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and I have to say; I really really was impressed with it!

    Come to think of it; it would be an interesting blind taste test: the 2005, 2006 and 2007 all togther since the reviews on them are so across the board.

  8. Wine on the Way, good question and never too late to comment on a post ;). I haven't tasted the 2007 H3 but have been planning to. I thought about making it a Virtual Tasting wine again but was a little gun shy after the 2006 (really liked the 2005). I will check it out and let you know what I find as well as read your review. Thanks for the comment.


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