C.M.S. by Hedges Family Estate

Cost: Average price $13

Where buy now: Stinson Wine & Spirits

Grapes: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot & 12% Syrah

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington

Vintage: 2010

Hedges Estate CMS Columbia Valley

I’m such a bonehead for not yet writing about the wines I’ve enjoyed from Hedges Family Estate! This C.M.S. is now the third varietal I’ve savored, and I have NO excuse for not sharing the first two with y’all. I’m a complete fan and trust any wine they produce. Let me tell you why you should, too.

Hedges Family Estate, out of Washington State, is run by Washington born and raised Tom Hedges, and his French wife, Anne Marie. They both cut their teeth working for large vinyards in the 70s. In the 80s, they created their own wine exporting company and their own {tip Merchants who purchase grapes, juice or bulk wine from small farmers, which they then produce, bottle and market on a larger scale under the négociant’s label.}négociant{/tip} called Hedges Cellars. An opportunity arose 3 hours East of Seattle in an up and coming wine region called Red Mountain. Volia! From the get-go, the Hedges Family Estate began making wine in a biodynamic way, very much working symbiotically with the terroir. While this may sound trendy or cliche these days, it was not the norm 25-30 years ago.

The marriage of American and French styles really emerges through their wine: New World but in an Old World way. Let’s chat about this C.M.S. which stands for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (though I like to think it’s something like “Coat My Stomach”, “Crush Me, Studmuffin”, or “Caress My Slippery-stuffs”). The blend is nothing less than superlative.

Deep ruby juice fills your glass and aromas of black cherry, raspberry and toasty cocoa waft up your nose. It drinks like a New World wine, fruit forward with hints of toasted vanilla and chocolate. An “any occasion” wine, it’s medium bodied and pleasingly smooth with balanced tannins and acidity. Not too sweet, not too dry, with a decent little finish on it. I served it to guests and everyone liked it the best of all the wines we tried that evening. I’ve also been impressed by their Bacchus Merlot and their unoaked HIP Chardonnay (drinks more like a French Chablis, my fave American unoaked Chard to date!). You easily can spot their wines by their fetching labels featuring uniquely modern, yet baroque fonts.

Open this bottle day or night, weeknight or weekend. Sit back and enjoy a beautifully balanced estate made glass of wine. You’ll be impressed. I know I found a new staple- especially for the price!

13 thoughts on “C.M.S. by Hedges Family Estate”

      1. Why is it a thumb up that they don’t like wine scores? Hedges makes good wine overall and would receive decent scores anyway.

        What good are people’s tasting notes without a score. No one is going to agree on what they taste anyway so a score is valuable information. My palate aligns to Tanzer so when they love a wine changes are I enjoy the wine. I have done several wine reviews prior to them releasing their scores and we often agree. Now I have a go to reviewer when I am going to make that $100 plus purchase.

  1. I am crazy confused. I used to drink this wine when I could find. It was a white wine that I loved. Chardonnay,Marsanne and Savignon Blanc. Please advise on change. Thanks!

    1. Dear Janice ~

      I am so sorry for the confusion. Perhaps I should have called this C.M.S. Red as you are correct, Hedges Family Estate make a C.M.S. White (Chardonnay, Marsanne & Sauvignon Blanc). I haven’t yet tried that one but I very much love their un-oaked Chardonnay, HIP.

      I’m going to have to give that white blend a try. Thanks for commenting and again, forgive me for causing confusion.


  2. To add to the discussion even more a score tells the reader if you like the wine. The Reverse Wine Snob (local guy) loves every wine he reviews. No doubt he has the FedEx track dropping off free wines all the time. Why does he never review a wine and says it is terrible? Too much kissing a** locally and nationally about crap wine. I give it score based on what I think and no matter the producer/ price point it is what my palate thinks. I know the anti movement of no scores is a way to keep the masses in the dark about real opinions about wine and let’s all face it Parker over rated too many wines which does not help the cause of scoring wines.

    1. Dear John ~

      I hear you and I think it’s a slippery slope. I view wine like art. The creator is vulnerable. I wrote one unfavorable article and couldn’t believe inquiry from the winery.

      I finally decided I’d just not write about wines that don’t tickle my fancy. There’s too many great wines out there, why waste my time writing about how bad or displeasing to me one was.

      If someone direct messages me via Twitter or Facebook or even emails me, I’ll give them my straight up opinion. But always remind them, it’s only my opinion.

      I don’t use the numbering system, rather I compare it to other wines from a similar area and style as reference.

      This is what makes the wine world (and other interests for that matter) fun. So many opinions and views. It just takes time to find the one(s) that align with your beliefs. Glad Tanzer floats your boat!

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Great review! If you ever get a chance to go tasting in this area there are lots of other wineries and the folks in the tasting rooms are super nice. Yakima and tri-cities = cheap motels and amazing wine

  4. i have tried two bottles of cms red wine at at different times at our favorite restaurant and took the unfinished bottles home . and twice the last glasses contained heavy residues. i enjoyed the wine but you must filter your wines better.

    1. Hi Ken,

      Thanks for commenting. Glad to read your favorite restaurant carries this wine! Hmm, as far as the heavy residues, that could be for a few reasons. I do not work at Hedges Estate Winery, I just enjoy living in Minneapolis and drinking their wines. I would contact Hedges Estate directly to inquire about the heavy residue.

      In the meantime, Summer is upon us and that means patio wine season!


  5. Thanks for bringing this great wine (CMS) to the attention of more people. I’m so enamored with wines coming out of Washington that I’m a little embarrassed.. From Charles Smith to Hedges the state should be proud.
    This wine is so good, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. It can be nice as a sipper while in your den reading a good book. But I think it excels being shared on the patio with friends. A great red for summer.

    1. Hi Barry,

      Thanks for commenting. No reason to be embarrassed! If you were enamored by wines coming out of North Dakota, then I’d make fun of you. 😉 I completely agree, these wines are approachable, nuanced and delicious without being fruit bombs. I cannot get enough of Charles Smith Substance Cab at the moment as well.
      Happy patio season and keep enjoying those Washington wines, alone and with your friends.


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