Chateau Ste Michelle 2011 Indian Wells Merlot, Columbia Valley, $14
Best Buy! Head winemaker Bob Bertheau refers to this as his “pasta wine,” and the reasons go beyond the everyday price for this release that’s primarily from the eponymous vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. Blueberry, macerated cherries, bittersweet chocolate and campfire smoke fill the nose, and the flavors follow with Montmorency cherry, boysenberry and rhubarb pie. Its structure features moderate tannins with shiny acidity and a finish of smoky blackberry, a sign of the Syrah (15%) that helps flesh out the palate. Another suggested dish to pair this with is Arroz con Pollo.
Production: 56,000 cases