two vines shirazTwo Vines is Columbia Crest’s entry level wine. This one is a bit of a curiosity.   A wine under current release for less than ten dollars that is 6 years past its vintage date. Most wineries don’t incur the expense of holding back budget wines to give them more bottle age. I’m not sure when this was released but if it was held back to give it more time to come together in the bottle, Columbia Crest is to be commended for caring about wine quality. It also puts a lie to the the claim that cheap wines don’t improve with age. True, most do not but this one is showing no signs of decrepitude and has come together nicely.

The nose is not particularly expressive—black cherry, cassis and tobacco provide some interest but it is neither complex nor intense. There are still hints of wood but given the time in the bottle the oak is well integrated. On the palate, it is rich and intense, dry, flavorful and satisfying with black cherry giving way to very dark chocolate midpalate, leading to a peppery finish. The tannins have presence but are soft and fall away quickly, and with relatively low acidity, the wine lacks some structure.

In summary, a pleasant wine with sturdy, mid-palate flavors and a sincere aspect—it doesn’t try to be lush or overtly charming. Excellent value for the price.

With age, the rough edges are sanded without going sweet. Like Mick Jaggar and band. I respect that.

Score: 85

Price: $7

Alc: 13.5