Here's the first super-bargain Washington wine I've had, the $5 2004 Pine & Post Merlot from the Columbia Valley. Frankly, I'm not getting a lot out of it. I picked it up for possible use in mulled wine later in the season, but my roommate had some Greek pizza and I figured "why not?"
(For a fun bit of recursion, the photo shown was taken here at the computer desk right before typing this paragraph--you may be able to make out the Blogger entry screen in the back.)
There's some black cherry flavors, and sort of a cinnamon kick on the finish (rather strong for a Merlot), but overall it simply tastes like... red wine. Rather reminds me of some parties I attended in my early 20s where the wine selection consisted of a gallon jug of Red and a gallon jug of White. The adventurous could make an ersatz rosé by mixing them half and half, though much of the time you'd have to add a little Sprite or 7-Up for that frosty wine cooler flavor.
But hey, the music was pumping, and you were desperately trying to appear interested while some hot yet crazy art student was describing her latest work that involved Legos and ketchup. Meanwhile, the first "wine virgin" of the evening goes one red plastic cup over the line, and retreats to the back porch to vomit in the yard. Several new couples form over the course of the evening, one or two break up and never speak again. Many break off into groups to engage in the newfound conversational pleasure of Being An Expert In Everything Because We're In College. An assortment of wallflowers decorate the edges of the party, quietly sipping on their drinks and never quite working up the courage to bust in on any conversations. One chick walks through the living room wearing a ballerina outfit complete with fairy wings, and you wonder if it's just a dance student or a hallucination brought on by too much jug wine.