EVERYDAY WINE PICK: Columbia Crest | Grand Estates | Cabernet Sauvignon | Columbia Valley | Washington | 2011 | $12

Columbia Crest Cab 11Here’s another winning everyday red from the folks at Columbia Crest that’s widely available, value-priced, and perfect for sultry summer sipping.  It’s a casual and relaxed Cab, with aromas and flavors that touch on some of the savory hallmarks of the variety:  blackcurrant, bell pepper, cured tobacco, dark chocolate, and just a little hint of mint.  It’s medium-bodied (on the lighter side for a Cab) and softly textured, with mild tannins and acids, but has just enough heft and balance to serve with versatility with a variety of cheeses, hamburgers on the grill, pizza, or just about anything you want to serve.  If you’re on a budget, planning a large party, or otherwise seeking a tasty bang for the buck, this is a reliable turn-to red that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.  It is nationally distributed, so you’ll easily find it along the wine aisle at just about any supermarket, warehouse club, or variety store — and often at a price significantly lower than the winery’s official $12 price tag.

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