Chateau Ste. Michelle is the Mondavi of Washington State. They've been around forever (since 1934) and they're monstrous, producing over 400,000 cases of Reisling. Their total production is a staggering 800,000 plus cases of wine a year. The analogy to Mondavi is appropriate to describe their portfolio which is wide and varied, from fairly generic commercial blends to more exclusive reserve wines and single vineyard designates.
Ste. Michelle is part of the family of wineries that include Conn Creek, Columbia Crest, and Villa Mt. Eden, all of which are owned by Stimson Lane, a division of U.S. Tobacco. They have recently opened a new tasting room that is open to the public.
This wine is 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon from the Horse Heaven Vineyard which was planted in the 1970s next to the Columbia River in Patterson, Washington. The 2002 vintage was unusual in that it started and stayed very hot, nearly resulting in a record early harvest, but then got cooler at the last minute, allowing the grapes to hang longer and gain in complexity and flavor. The wine is fermented in 100% French oak (30% new) and aged on the lees for six months before being racked off. 23,000 cases were made.
Light straw colored in the glass this wine has a nose of hazelnuts, clover honey, and meyer lemons. In the mouth it has a nice acidity balance with flavors of honey, lemon zest, and a finish that tapers towards a hint of orange blossoms. More so than other wines I have had from this producer, this wine has a particularly unique personality that is subtle and satisfying.
The semillion component to the wine makes it slightly more silky and creamy than your usual sauvignon blanc and allows it to work with a lot of foods. I think its a great picnic wine and would be a perfect
accompaniment to grilled fontina and caponata panini.
Overall Score: 8.5/9
How Much?: $14
This wine is readily available on the Internet. Try Froogle.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
Warm Up: Tannins I'll Drink to That: Winemaker Andy Erickson Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 17, 2016 Vinography Images: Bright Emerald Warm Up: Hermitage I'll Drink to That: Winemaker Jean-Louis Chave World's Greatest Sommelier Success Stories Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 4/17/16 I'll Drink to That: Christian Seely of AXA Millésimes A Rescued Vintage: 2013 Burgundy Highlights from La Paulée
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune