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Hedges Family Estate Three Vineyards, 2003, Red Mountain AVA, Washington

cabernet sauvignon 40%, merlot 56%, cabernet franc 3%, syrah 1%

There is so much to enjoy about this wine including the under $30 price tag. Brilliant ruby, with bright mint, cassis and vanilla aromas. Very forward and young without being simply fruity. Juicy and fresh yet firm on the palate with excellent balance. Certainly oaky, but it is well integrated into the concentrated fruit flavors. The finish is long with a juicy, youthful fruit that will evolve into something more complicated with a few years of bottle age. You have to love the structure of these Washington wines, which clearly remind one more of Bordeaux than Napa.