Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot 2010
|Brand||Chateau Ste. Michelle|
Wine SpectatorFirm in texture, displaying a hard edge to the smoky berry, green olive and hay aromas and flavors, which linger against well-modulated tannins. Best after 2014. 45,000 cases made.
Wine EnthusiastToasty and firm, this substantial Merlot is based in powerful cassis flavor, with muscular tannins and a solid foundation of earth and extract.
Wine AdvocateFor thoughts on Chateau Ste Michelle's uniqueness and recent evolution, consult my extensive April, 2013 text designed to introduce recent tasting notes. Ste Michelle's 2010 Merlot Indian Wells incorporates 14% Syrah, prompting Bertheau to quip that "red blends like this are saving Syrah's existence in our program the way white Zin saved Zinfandel in the bad old days when it was threatened." As in the corresponding pair of Cabernets, this is more marked by wood and more sweetly ripe than the corresponding "regular" Columbia Valley bottling, but also less interesting and more rustically tannic. That said, it deserves high marks for sheer oomph and grip, its sappy fruit tinged with wood smoke and caramel. I would plan to drink it within the next three years. (Incidentally, the "Indian Wells" name was sold to Ste Michelle by the owner of the formerly eponymous Wahluke Slope vineyard, but many other wineries still share in its fruit, nor is a Ste Michelle wine so-labeled sourced entirely from that site; in this instance, for example only half the fruit was from the Wahluke Slope and not quite all of that from the Indian Wells site.)