Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tasting Notes: Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Merlot 2005


The Bottle: This Washington state Merlot is sourced from Columbia Valley vineyards in the eastern part of the state. It's an 83% Merlot blend, with 14% Syrah and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. The abv is 13.5%. The wine gets 15 months aging in American and French oak.

The Nose: The oak is there on the nose, as well as quite a bit of alcohol on first pour. The second night I had this, I let it sit for an hour in the glass before drinking it. It helped settle down the tannins quite a bit. The nose bears a strong black cherry cola aroma, very pleasing. There are some vanilla notes, too.

The Taste: As I mentioned, the alcohol was quite dominant on first pour, so a bit of breathing time is advised. Once it's had some time, it's a very tasty wine. That candy cola profile is there, and there's a nice strain of black tea as well. Blackberry comes to the front. The oak isn't too overdone and the finish is pretty good. I pick up a spiciness that's like nutmeg.

I remember someone a long time ago telling me that, "Chateau Ste Michelle is a pretty reliable wine to bring to a party. It's not expensive, everybody likes it and you won't miss having it around." I don't know that I would agree with that last part, but the other two parts of the equation certainly ring true. This wine is enjoyable and easy to match with food. I can see this being a good pair with meats from beef to fish and all sorts of pasta.