Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New "H3" Wines Crafted fromthe Horse Heaven Hills AVA

Columbia Crest, one of Washington state's top producers of
premium wines, has announced the national launch of its new Horse Heaven
Hills ultra-premium product tier. The wine, known as "H3" is crafted from
fruit grown in the Horse Heaven Hills American Viticulture Area (AVA). The
Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are now available in all markets
for a suggested retail price of $15 per bottle.

The Horse Heaven Hills AVA is one of Washington state's newest AVAs and the
home of Columbia Crest winery for more than two decades. The vineyards in
Horse Heaven Hills AVA are the source and inspiration behind the H3 wines,
which are crafted with the passion for which Columbia Crest is known,
creating one exceptional family of wines:

Horse Heaven Hills 2007 Chardonnay – Aromatics of slight mineral,
apple, pear and caramelized sugar open this elegant, medium-bodied
Chardonnay. The balanced palate of pineapple and coconut leads to
a seductive, creamy vanilla finish.

Horse Heaven Hills 2006 Merlot – Classic and fruit-forward, this
Merlot presents aromas of blackberry and spice with a perfect
balance of slight earth, dusty cocoa and ripe berry flavors. The
wine closes with a rich, velvety, dark chocolate finish.

Horse Heaven Hills 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon – Intense and
fruit-forward, this Cabernet Sauvignon delivers aromas of cherry
blossom, and rose petals, with a perfect balance of earth,
mineral, deep berry flavors, and a soft, smooth cocoa finish.

"Vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills are unique because they are comprised
of diverse microclimates that produce different fruit structures with
underlying uniform characteristics," said Ray Einberger, Columbia Crest
winemaker. "For example, the cooler climate vineyards produce fruit with
mineral undertones while fruit from the warmer climate vineyards contain
slight earth and dust elements. These variances allow me to blend wines
that capture the true essence of the AVA in the bottle."

Einberger, who has been sourcing from the Horse Heaven Hills vineyards for
more than 14 years, goes on to say that the creation of a wine tier
carrying the AVA is a natural addition to the Columbia Crest portfolio.

"The winery's long heritage of winemaking and viticulture in the Horse
Heaven Hills, and the in-depth understanding of each vineyard site allow me
to craft wines that reflect the unique terroir of the area while
maintaining the integrity of the region," states Einberger.

In 1978 Columbia Crest planted 2,000 acres in the Horse Heaven Hills; three
years later construction on the Columbia Crest winery began, with the first
crush for Columbia Crest in 1983.

The vineyards' topography and climate produced fruit with notable
characteristics, and for the following 22 years, the winery expanded the
plantings and continued to research and improve the quality of the grapes.
Recognizing the uniqueness of the Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Crest was
one of the key players that led the consortium of growers to petition the
government for a Horse Heaven Hills AVA, which was established in August

In February 2008, the winery launched the debut vintages of H3 to limited
markets. The second vintages of H3, which include the 2006 Cabernet
Sauvignon, 2006 Merlot and 2007 Chardonnay, are available to both on- and
off-premise accounts nationally.

The labels contain an elegant white horse with wings soaring above an "H3"
emblem. The image is meant to convey the story of the Horse Heaven Hills
(or H3) AVA.

According to local historical records, in 1857, rancher James Kinney was
camping in the hills. He woke up to discover his heard had wandered up a
mountain side onto an upland plain where they were munching on succulent
bunch grass. The rancher commented, "Surely this is horse heaven."

About Columbia Crest
This year Columbia Crest Winery celebrates 25 years of winemaking in
Washington state. Columbia Crest has grown from a small winery in a
relatively unknown wine region to one of the most significant wineries in
the U.S. and a major force behind Washington state’s emergence as a world
class wine region. In 2007, the Grand Estates Merlot was selected from a
field of 15,000 rated wines as one of the "Top 100 Wines of the World” by
Wine Spectator, marking the 14th "Top 100" placement for Columbia Crest in
the past ten years. More information about the winery can be found at

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