AG Pick Under $20: Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Merlot

Of the many Chateau Ste. Michelle wines I’ve tasted, I have yet to find one I don’t like. I’ve tried several different vintages of the Columbia Valley Merlot and have always found it to be a good, solid wine that can pair with a variety of different dishes.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington State. The winery sources its grapes from a few different vineyards in the Columbia Valley. The Columbia Valley Merlot is made with grapes from vineyards in eastern Washington including the Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards.

Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Columbia Valley Merlot is a deep garnet red in color. On the nose are notes of red plum, cherries and cedar. The taste is of ripe red fruit, with some blackberry and cola flavors. There’s a slight taste of smoke on the finish. The wine has a light and silky mouthfeel with gentle tannins. An alcohol taste comes out at the end, leaving a warm feeling in the mouth that lingers for a bit. The alcohol taste lightens as the wine opens up. I’d recommend this wine with grilled fish, lamb and poultry dishes.

The Columbia Valley Merlot retails around $16. At my last trip to Publix I found the 2004 vintage for $15.99 and have seen it around $13 at wine stores. Chateau Ste. Michelle makes a variety of red, white and dessert wines that range in price. If you’re not big into Merlot, pick up something else from Chateau Ste. Michelle (there are several for under $25), and I think you will enjoy it. Their Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon costs about the same as the Merlot and is also a very tasty wine at a good price.

For more information on Chateau Ste. Michelle visit

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