Like pinot noir, merlot should be grown only in certain places and in certain soil types. And Chateau Ste. Michelle is among the wineries that have figured out exactly where and how, bottling several delicious renditions every year. The Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Merlot ($16) is rich but vibrant, with layers of red berry and plum flavors and a touch of spice on the refreshing finish. This Washington red is an ideal fireplace wine, but also welcome at the dinner table with roasted meats or winter veggies, hearty pastas and hard cheeses. Available at Apple Valley and Eden Prairie munis, Big Top, Cellars, Yarmo, MGM and others.