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A Wine for the Winner's Circle

Horse Heaven Hills (H3) Chardonnay
Alison Brooks

Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay

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Saturday marked the 140th Kentucky Derby. 19 horses with their riders atop, shot out of the gate for the 1.25 miles to the finish. Most folks were sipping on the Derby drink, a mint julep. Perhaps a mint julep is not your cup of tea. The next race in the triple crown is the Preakness, whose drink is a sickly sweet Black Eyed Susan. Instead, how about a great refreshing white wine from Washington State that will fit well with any equestrian theme?

Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay, also known as H3 is a most excellent Chardonnay that is part of the Columbia Crest label. Horse Heaven Hills is in the southeastern part of Washington and is part of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. Columbia Crest is the single largest wine making facility in Washington. Wines thrive in this region due to the awesome microclimates. For example, this region has 30% more wind than the rest of the state. The grape vines love that. The wind acts as a canopy and controls the temperature in the summer. So no roasting grape vines.

If gnawing on a piece of oak is not your cup of tea and is perhaps a reason for not buying Chardonnays --- fear not, H3 Chardonnay is here to save the day! Chardonnay gets a bad rap for being known to be too oak heavy. Some folks like that, but most do not. H3 Chard is filled with citrus on the nose and even hints of spice. The first sip is a toasty smooth like butter welcome party followed by a hint of coconut and citrus. Vanilla seems to linger on the finish and with that, makes you want to pour another glass.

The best part, the price. $10-15 depending on where you buy it. Generally, Safeway and Teeter will be more expensive than Costco and Total Wine. At prices like these, when they announce "riders up", raise a glass of H3. It will please the palate and ease the sting of a losing exacta ticket...

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