We tried a few popular and widely-available Columbia Valley-sourced bottles from Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest Grand Estates (both part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates collective). You can usually find Columbia Crest for around $10, whereas the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley wines are closer to $14. But are the extra few dollars worth it?
'Merlot' on Serious Eats
In Pomerol, Fronsac, Saint-Emilion, the wines are almost exclusively merlot-based blends, which grow well in the clay soil that dominates the region. Plateaus of limestone and patches of sand scattered throughout the vineyards allow for modest growth of other grapes which lend structure and personality to the merlot with which they are blended. Unlike Left Bank wines, which are dominated by tannic cabernet sauvignon that's built to age and meant to sit for years in a cellar, these merlot-based wines are lower in tannins and acid, which gives them incredible versatility.
I remember drinking Merlot after I saw the movie Sideways, and I thought, "What's the big deal? Why was he so angry about Merlot? Despite my own affinities for the glass in hand, it was sad to realize such a blanket statement about a grape would stick around for a while. Fortunately for us amateurs, we get to make up our own minds about this grape variety. Here are a few tips on where it's made, how to serve it, and some tasty (and affordable) bottles to try out.
I couldn't resist a few more red wine recommendations for those of you looking for something a little different for your Thanksgiving table. Here are three bottles worth considering if you haven't already stocked up.
Last week, we found a few very tasty whites packaged in boxes instead of bottles. We love the long shelf life and environmental benefits of the bag-in-box. It's lighter to carry and fills fridge space efficiently. But they're not all delicious—we did the homework for you and ended up with this list of the best boxed red wines.
"Gewürztraminer is grown in Germany and Alsace, two regions known for fine sausages, so it's no surprise the grape goes well with hot dogs." [Photograph: Robyn Lee] Many hot dogs will be slapped into buns this weekend in honor of Labor Day. Some will anoint them with mustard, others will go for "Chicago style," loading everything but the kitchen sink on top. Even without toppings, hot dogs are tricky because they combine sweet and salty flavors. So what's a wine drinker to do? Of course, you can do what you like--there are no absolute rules when it comes to wine and food pairing. But if hot dogs have stumped you in the past, I've got recommendations for sparkling, Gewürztraminer, rosé,...
There is a price to pay for eclecticism: you can forget to drink the six grapes that provide the backbone for wine production throughout the world. These six "noble grapes"--Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir--have been cultivated all over the world and been made into distinguished, even legendary wines.
So I decided to give you a week's worth of food and wine pairing suggestions, all of which began with an inspiring recipe on this site. I don't adhere to many traditional "wine and food pairing rules," like no red wine with fish, so I'm including a white wine and a red wine recommendation for each. And, because food and wine pairing can be intimidating, I'm going to explain exactly why I chose the wines I did.