Chateau Ste. Michelle 2005 Merlot (Columbia Valley (WA))

This is a nicely balanced, tightly constructed effort, a Merlot that will surprise anyone who has not tasted Washington Merlot in this price range. It is miles apart from the herbal, stemmy Merlots of other New World regions, or the vapid, watery $15 junk that comes from our neighbor to the south. This is ripe, full, meaty, structured, laden with plum and cherry, spice and just a hint of herb. Paul Gregutt

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