My fifth wine (495) of the year was a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Ste. Michelle (originally this bottle was meant to partner with a hamburger the last burger night), to provide a little variation from my recent flirtation with Grenache and other Rhone style wines.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is a major producer from Washington State, carried in every grocery chain that has a wine department, at least most. In other words, this isn’t like trying to scour the soils of Cahors for a truffle; it is instead, almost synonymous with Safeway (name your chain).

Washington state is chock full of amazing values in wine, for the quality, running the gamut from Bordeaux varietals to high acid Rieslings, the Northwest has it in spades. The weather varies from west to east, divided by the Cascade Mountains; heavy maritime influence west of the range (like Bordeaux in the Southwest of France, heavy ocean influence) and to the east, there is a drier desert effect.

I relish the opportunity to try all wines from Washington, no matter how common; they serve as a stepping-stone and a way for me to learn more about wine from an area that has always captured my heart.

As for the Cabernet, well, it was straightforward, not complex but a dry red with soft and round tannins (a nice mouth feel) and a full body. The Cabernet was a very approachable wine that was fruit forward and just screaming to be paired with meat. It was unfortunate that it was not drunk with the burger because it may have sparkled a little brighter than the Grenache. Oh well, there is always more wine to prove…exactly 494 bottles.