2008 Chateau St. Michele Indian Wells Merlo

The perfect wine to pair with the height of outdoor grilling season.

I guess it’s time to retire that white patent-leather belt for another year. Labor Day has arrived, and its passing means a little something different to each of us.

For some, it’s the last chance to vacation before the rugrats head back to school. For others, it’s a celebration of (not so) organized labor. And for others still, it’s a total boondoggle—the last reasonable excuse to engage in a weekend of debauchery. While I’m too old for the debauchery part, I’m not ready to throw in the proverbial towel on summer just yet.

September is the perfect month for cooking outdoors, as the cooler evenings make it a little more tolerable to slave over a hot grill. It’s also the American Wine Society’s National Tasting Project; and this year’s star is Merlot—the wine that gets no respect.

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I selected the 2008 Chateau St. Michele Indian Wells Merlot. With a little less than 80 percent Merlot and the balance mostly Syrah, this product has the chops to stand up to, well, chops! With aromas of rich berry fruit, this wine is nice and jammy, thanks to the Syrah. It has a hint of pepper and spice—but not enough to overpower the pleasant tannins and soft mouthfeel.

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Categories: Eat + Drink Features