Calldera wine category:  t (fruity, medium-to-full bodied, tannic, not acidic, oaked)

Origin:  Columbia Valley, Washington U.S.A.

Calldera rating:  4.6 (on a 1 – 5 point scale)

Calldera tasting note:  “Fruit forward, deep purple colored wine with an aroma of dark ripe berries and cedar.  Black fruit on the palate.  Very long finish.  Great dinner party wine - buy a few bottles.”

% alcohol:  14.5%

Average price:  $17.78

The 2015 Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Merlot is a fruit-forward, full-bodied wine that drinks a lot like a typical Napa Valley, California Cabernet Sauvignon.  From the Columbia Valley in Washington state, this Merlot wine is characterized by supple tannins, ripe dark berries and pronounced oaky flavors of caramel and vanilla.  The wine can be drunk now but, due to the amount of tannins in the wine, may also be cellared for up to 5 years.

Unlike many wines produced from the Merlot grape, the 2015 Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Merlot exhibits a structure that lends noticeable dimensionality to the wine.  This enables the wine to firmly stand on its own as a cool weather sipping wine as well as to stand up to hearty food dishes.

Although the tannins in the wine are discernible, they are not overwhelming or too drying.  Rather, the wine’s structure is subtle, lending a certain finesse to the wine characteristic of more expensive bottles.  The wine does not taste sweet, but its big fruit and prominent oaky flavors are front-and-center.

At an average price of around $18 per bottle, this wine is a great value for those whose taste profile includes wines in the Calldera “t” wine category.  This is a wine that pairs well with a juicy steak without breaking the bank.  It is also a great choice if you’re looking for a red wine to pair with any mildly seasoned, hearty dish. 

Due to the discernible tannins in the wine, the 2015 Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Merlot will stand up to most dishes.  However, its prominent fruit and oak flavors may clash with a heavily spiced or seasoned dish.

Because the wine exhibits tannin but relatively low levels of it for a Calldera “t” category wine, the 2015 Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Merlot paired with a salty or mildly seasoned, hearty dish will be appreciated by most people.  This, combined with the attractive pricing of the wine, makes it a great choice for a small dinner party with friends.


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