Winter Weeknight Wine:

Celebrate the Small Stuff

Like making it through your child’s winter concert. Am I right? When you need to celebrate the small wins without breaking the bank, look to one of these easy-going food-friendly options.

Armstrong Family Winery Four Birds 2013
(Columbia Valley; $25)
This very approachable blend of Merlot (63%) and Cabernet Franc (37%) uses the wiles of its youth to weave its way into your Monday night. The Merlot gives this wine a great core of dark plum with a pinch of cocoa, while the Franc rushes in brandishing its beacon of acidity. If you can, give Four Birds a bit of time to open up – uncork the bottle before heading to the squeaky clarinet serenade and enjoy upon your return. Or pair with Meatball Monday, Take-Out Tuesday, What-Am-I-Gonna-Cook Wednesday, etc.

blackberry-jamSkylite Cellars Soireé 2012
(Columbia Valley; $25)
Soireé is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser – as easy to drink standing around at a party (dare I say, soireé?) as with a bowl of beef stroganoff and noodles at the dinner table. Washington wine drinkers tend to love these Bordeaux/Rhone varietal mashup red blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot (CSM for short). Aromas of blackberry jam, plum and just a touch of bell pepper are carried through the palate with a round, lush mouthfeel.

Dunham Cellars Three Legged Red 2014
(Columbia Valley; $19)
Another Washington State CSM, Three Legged Red is consistently Dunham’s biggest seller. Though given a shorter cellar time than Dunham’s higher end wines, this vintage still brought home 90 points from Wine Enthusiast. Three Legged Red delivers the “full bruise” aroma – black and blue berries, with a little chocolate mixed in. Kick back on the couch with a glass of this and a plate of cheese and crackers for an easy weeknight dinner snack.

blueberry-sprigMaryhill Winery Winemaker’s Red 2013
(Columbia Valley; $16)
Maryhill Winery has won numerous awards including Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year in 2015 (Wine Press Northwest). Fortunately, they haven’t let it go to their head. Case in point – this $16 Bordeaux-style blend with the Washington twist (if you haven’t caught on yet, our state’s secret ingredient is Syrah). Classic plum notes with boysenberry and Bing cherry on the nose followed by some blueberry and just a hint of toasty vanilla on the palate. This wine is very easy to drink and priced to sell (better buy a case – there are a lot of weekdays until Christmas).

Soléna Estate Grande Cuvée Pinot Noir 2014
(Willamette Valley; $30)
Ok, so $30 isn’t exactly on the lower end of “everyday” wine, but it is when it comes to high quality Willamette Valley Pinot. This light-bodied example showcases cherry and blackberry fruit aromas and subtly darker fruit on the palate accompanied by leathery licorice notes. Polished tannins and a hint of spice make this an extremely agreeable wine for any night of the week.

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