The name C.M.S. comes from the blend of grapes they use i.e. Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah. This makes sense considering they are the leading the grapes in the Columbia Valley region. The Hedges estate also make a white blend of Chardonnay, Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc.
The CMS has been made since 1987, and is recognized as one of the big value-driven wines coming out of Washington State.
In June of 1976, Tom Hedges (born in Washington State) married Anne-Marie Liégeois (born in the Champagne region of France) in a 12th century church in Champagne, France. The couple attribute their convergence of cultures to be a big contributing factor to the style of the Hedges wines.
Hedges are a big proponent behind the website / movement ScoreRevolution.com. They believe that wine scores force wineries to abandon their terroir (a sense of place for a wine) in favor of catering to the wine critics. I personally agree with this theory, and myself have never been a big advocate of wine scores!
The Hedges CMS red was aged in new oak for 5 weeks, 60% French and 40% American. Such a short time in oak is a good sign that the wine is meant to be enjoyed in its youth. Bearing that in mind, I believe that the current release is 2009, even though the bottle used for this review is 2008. Still drinking great though!
Washington State is the second largest wine producing state in the United States with over 700 wineries and 30,000 acres of vineyards. Back in 1981, only 19 wineries existed in the whole State!
Washington’s very first wine grapes were planted at Fort Vancouver in 1825.
It surprised me that the Washington wine region makes 54% white wines to 46% red wines! I would have thought red lead by a long-shot! If you don’t believe me, check out the stats at Washingtonwine.org.
Columbia Valley is a HUGE wine growing region, covering 11 million sq acres (that’s over 17,000 square miles in non-farmer speak). Only about 17,000 acres (26 sq miles) are planted to vines.
The Columbia Valley region is actually shared between both Oregon and Washington State. The region contains about one third of Washington’s wineries.
A mixture of red fruits with a little earth, wood and spice on the nose. I actually expected the CMS to be a lot more fruit-forward than it is, quite a nice surprise actually. The palate shows puckery sour-cherry, over-ripened blackberry, cranberry, a little toasty oak, dried herbs, cracked peppercorns and enough tannin to give a surprisingly lengthy finish.
Even though this wine (as previously stated) is still a vintage behind its current release, it still has the acidity to carry it on for at least another few years. Definitely a wine that would benefit from being paired with a good meal!
Even though it isn’t necessarily an Old World wine, I suggest that you think along the lines of Old World cuisine when pairing with the CMS.
Sausages (be they lamb, pork or beef), portobello mushrooms, pot roast, lamb with a red fruit reduction and dishes involving herbs such as rosemary, basil or thyme would all provide great accompaniments to the Hedges.