Here's a top-notch bargain red from Washington state's Columbia Valley - Hedges Cellars CMS Red 2006, about half Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot for the rest with just a splash of Syrah thrown in for good measure. All the basic elements - fruit, earth and alcohol - are in harmonic convergence to produce a terrific wine for casual or even more serious beef and pork dishes. This offers American fruit and exuberance without American arrogance - in other words, without the over-the-top oak and alcohol our wines have become known for. It's comfortable being an American wine. I'll stop now before I wax all metaphoricky-political.