Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Blend, 2010

Red blend.  How banal.  Compact car.  Pay phone. Simple syrup.  Common thread.  Could there be anything less interesting than a wine proclaiming it’s a blend?  At least the French are clever in how they present blends.  Bordeaux is, by definition, a blend.  But I digress.


The humble boring descriptor on this label belies something spectacular: A gorgeous blend.  Amazing value.  Superb flavour.  Amazing depth considering.  Fruity, jammy, spicy.  We got gas at Fred Meyer and picked up a bottle in Bellingham on a whim.  $13.99.  Why not try it out with some BBQ?  It was only $14?


Vineyards across BC’s Okanagan aspire to create a wine like this.  They often fail but when they succeed you will pay $40, $50 or more, and when they do create wines this good they get 90 points and they sell out fast.  You can get in your car, drive to Fred Meyer (of all places!) and get three bottles of the CSM blend for the price of one Canadian half decent red.  That’s what many wine lovers in BC call the three-to-one and although incredibly common you rarely read about it in the Canadian wine review columns: Three wonderful, satisfying, delectable reds, easy access in the US, versus one hard-to-source expensive bottle in Canada.  And you don’t read about it much because the wine reviewers don’t pay exorbitant prices for wine and rarely run into access issues the way consumers do.  So, yes, that’s a dig at a) Canadian liquor taxes, b) the reviewers in their wine cloister, c) the wine establishment, and d) the consumers who don’t complain.


So, since this review is as much a digression and rant as a review, let’s toast Mark Hicken who, almost on his lonesome, goes to bat for the consumer at his excellent Free the Wine site.


Price: $13.99 USD.  $13.99!  Thank you Fred Meyer!


Market Liquidity: Like your most comfortable t-shirt.

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