Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | February 15, 2010

What a $15 Cab Should Taste Like

This past weekend we had the opportunity to try our third wine from Washington State wine maker Chateau Ste Michelle.

As some may recall, the winery has had a mixed record with the Cork Scrooge. The 2006 Syrah was a superb find, but there wasn’t a single exciting thing to be said for the 2006 Columbia Valley Cabernet. And now I know why: it appears the wily Washingtonians saved their best value cab for those willing to search a little harder for the “Indian Wells” bottling.

The 2007 Indian Wells Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet has everything the 2006 Columbia Valley was missing. Simply put, the wine tastes like a nice cabernet – what a $15 bottle of cab should taste like. The cabernet (81%), syrah (18%) and malbec (1%) blend brings together a nice jammy wine that starts off slightly dry but very quickly reveals a flavorful and smooth dark berry underpinning that will not disappoint. And, at 14.5% alcohol content, this bottle packs quite a wallop.

One of my favorite things about this wine is that it tasted just fine the next evening when we re-opened the bottle. Most value wines I have come across are like a terrible one night stand – the next day when you see what you had the night before you run screaming for the room.

Not so with the Indian Wells – it was dryer and a bit more alcohol forward 24 hours after the initial opening, but to my surprise, it still offered an entirely drinkable glass of wine.

A note of caution for those heading to the wine isle: be careful not to pick up the “Columbia Valley” bottling. As I reviewed earlier, it is entirely drinkable, but for nearly the same price, the “Indian Wells” bottling offers a far greater bang for the buck (look for the red “INDIAN WELLS” stamp across the label. The 2007 retails for $18, however I picked this up at Safeway on sale for $15 – and it can be found on various wine sites for around $14. Enjoy!



  1. so far, I have not been able to find the recommended wines; I live in Yonkers, NY; where are you?
    thank you.

    • Hey cat, I am in DC, and most of these were picked up at Safeway. Though I am about to jump into a whole bunch of value south american wines.

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