Back in the day when there were far fewer than the 10,000 wines that currently fight for the 200 spaces on a retailer’s shelf, Chateau St. Michelle and Columbia Crest were two Washington State wineries that you could always count on for good wines at good prices. It seems as if their popularity has dropped a bit in recent years as new QPR (Quality/Price ratio) wines from Argentina, Spain and Australia, as well as countless new California offerings have relegated them to the back-burner.

A couple of Sundays ago while visiting my son and his wife near Pottstown, PA, I made a visit to a local state store in search of a Chairman’s Selection that would go nicely with dinner. I couldn’t find much that enticed me until I came across the 2005 Chateau St. Michelle “Orphelin”, the sign claimed that it was “quoted at $30.00 NOW just $11.99 Save $18.01”. I knew from past experience that Chairman’s Selection marketing tended to over price the “quoted” dollar amount but still, this one seemed interesting. 

Once opened back at the house it went quickly and everyone who had a glass thought it was great, myself included. Some research revealed that it was a blend of leftover grapes consisting of 56% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 10% Cinsault, 8% Grenache, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Touriga, 1% Pinot Noir and 1% Vigonier. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a Chateauneuf du Pape with earthy black and red fruits intermingled with the peppery syrah. The bottom line is that it is a great value and a small gem of a wine at $11.99. The real problem is that there is very little of this remaining in the PA State Store system and I would imagine when it is gone, that will be the end of it. I managed to  grab two more bottles the other day. You should try to do the same.


  1. I wonder if they would carry this in the NY area. I would love to try this wine! Thanks for sharing.

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