Sunday Wine Tasting: Horse Heaven Hills (H3) 2009 Merlot

HN’s on-staff wine critic (don’t judge) Kirsten Collins is back with a review of this happily-named Washington merlot. Cheers!

From Kirsten:

Honestly, the only reason I haven’t reviewed this wine is because I was certain another Horse Nation-er would.  If by some miracle you haven’t received it as a gift because it has the word “horse” in the name, then get thee to a winery.

This medium-bodied wine is the perfect complement to a brisk but sunny autumn afternoon.  Prop your feet on your deck rail, a hay bale, or perhaps your trailer ramp and savor a glass.  Share a splash with a friend while your horses munch their post-show hay.  I must admit I enjoyed two glasses of H3 merlot while watching a distant neighbor run around frantically trying to corral his loose pigs.  I’m sure he appreciated me toasting his efforts as I chanted a helpful “Sooie!”  We scored the pigs sevens and eights for their nifty trot work.

Speaking of pigs, this wine goes well with grilled pork tenderloin.  Pair it with bacon and eggs, as I have.  (You didn’t hear it from me, but it will also go with an oh-crap-I’m-home-late-from-the-barn supper of microwave mac n’ cheese.)

It says “merlot” on the bottle but the wine is blended from 96% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Malbec.  Close enough.  Winemaker Juan Munoz Oca says:  “The H3 Merlot opens with aromas of raspberries, black pepper and earthy tones which lead to flavors of chocolate covered cherries and plum preserves on the silky smooth palate. The flavors and aromas cumulate in to an intense – yet elegant – finish.”  My sentiments exactly, Juan.

Horse Heaven Hills – so named for the wild horses that once roamed the area – can be found in the state of Washington where the Columbia Crest winery has operated for more than two decades.  Wild horses… hilly vineyards… it sure sounds like heaven to me.

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