Chateau Ste. Michelle: A Washington Pioneer

Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington state’s founding winery, with some of the oldest and most acclaimed vineyards in the Columbia Valley. Built on the 1912 estate owned by Seattle lumber baron Frederick Stimson, the winery’s roots date back to the repeal of Prohibition.  In 1967, American Wine Growers began a new line of premium vinifera wines called “Ste. Michelle Vintners” under the direction of legendary California winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff. In 1976, Ste. Michelle Vintners built a French style Chateau in Woodinville, and changed its name to Chateau Ste. Michelle.

As the winery grew, so did recognition for the  top-quality wines being produced in Washington. In 1984, Ste. Michelle led the way in obtaining federal recognition of the Columbia Valley in eastern Washington as a unique wine-growing region or American Viticulture Area (AVA). Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the few premium wineries in the world, with two state-of-the-art wineries: one devoted to whites, another to reds.

2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay, $10.99
“My goal with the Columbia Valley Chardonnay is to make it a pleasurable, food-friendly wine. This is a fresh, soft style of Chardonnay with bright apple and citrus fruit character with subtle spice and oak nuances. We blend Chardonnay grapes from vineyards all over Washington’s Columbia Valley to make this a complex, interesting wine. The sur lie aging gives it appealing softness.”  — Bob Bertheua, winemaker

2012 Eroica Riesling, $18.99
“... the 2012 Riesling Eroica offers up racy, well-defined aromas and flavors of star fruit, citrus rind, green apple and edgy minerality on the nose. Medium-bodied, off-dry through the mid-palate and clean and fresh on the finish, it’s a delicious, textbook Riesling that would be a perfect meal starter or to pair up with spicier fare. Drink bottles over the coming handful of years. Drink now -- 2015.”  91 points, The Wine Advocate

2005 Ethos Late Harvest Riesling, $16.99
“Bright, pale gold with a green tinge. Slightly high-toned, musky aromas of honeycomb, caraway seed and mace. Fat, thick and very sweet, but with good acidity framing the very rich flavors of ripe peach, caraway seed and honey. In an ideal world, this would have more complexity and acidity, but this sweet bomb is dense and delicious.”  91 points, Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. This wine retails for $39.00, but we made a special purchase and are passing along the savings.

2011 Indian Wells Merlot, $16.99
The Indian Wells Merlot offers ripe berry fruit aromas and jammy flavors typical of Wahluke Slope reds. This is a full-bodied style of warm climate Merlot with a round, supple finish. The winery added Wahluke Slope Syrah to enhance the mouthfeel and rich fruit character. The perfect pasta wine! 

2010 Indian Wells Red Blend, $16.99
This new Indian Wells Red Blend is an easy-to-enjoy, yet well-structured wine from mostly warmer climate vineyards. The wine reflects the rich, round, powerful style of Washington fruit, highlighting seven varieties. It is a true example of the art of blending. The wine offers jammy boysenberry flavors from the Syrah with a luscious backbone from the Merlot. The other varieties add the “spices” that all winemakers love to work with. This would be a great match with barbecue ribs.                                                   

2010 Canoe Ridge  Cabernet Sauvignon, $27.00
The Canoe Ridge Estate Cab is a beautifully balanced wine that offers a classic, fresh expression of Horse Heaven Hills fruit. The wine offers black current flavors, hints of sage and elegant tannins. The cooler vintage in 2010 led to an enhanced “Old World” restrained elegant character.  “Coming from vines planted in 1991 and located in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, close to the Columbia River, (the Canoe Ridge) delivers notions of red and black fruits, spice box, flowers and background herbs along with a medium-bodied, richly textured mouthfeel that carries solid depth and ripe tannin.”  91 points, The Wine Advocate.

2007 Col Solare Red Blend, $45.00
“A blend of 75 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 percent Merlot and 5 percent Cabernet Franc that comes from a variety of vineyards (about 30 percent in Red Mountain and the balance from the Columbia Valley) and was aged 22 months in mostly new French oak, the 2007 Col Solare is a superb effort that offers up notions of cassis, cedar, lead pencil, tar and dried herb as well as a full-bodied, supple and polished texture. A classic Washington State Bordeaux blend, it stays classy and balanced, and shows the quality of the 2007 vintage. It’s also worth noting that there were 11,000 cases of this wine produced! Hats off to the Col Solare team – this is a beauty. Drink now-2022.”  94 points, The Wine Advocate.