By Kori ~ August 15th, 2011.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington State’s founding winery with its roots dating back to the repeal of Prohibition. In 1976, Ste. Michelle built a French-style chateau in Woodinville, just northeast of Seattle. While all of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s vineyards are located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, all of their white wines are made in Woodinville. Their red wines are made at Canoe Ridge Estate in eastern Washington.
No matter where you live in the United States, you are probably familiar with the wines of Chateau Ste. Michelle, particularly their Columbia Valley line. While those wines enjoy national distribution, Chateau Ste. Michelle also produces a number of other reserve and limited release wines that are not as widely available.
Recently, we had the opportunity to taste several wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Limited Release series in a blind samples tasting. These limited release wines allow the winemaking team to experiment a bit. These small lots are initially available exclusively to members of their wine club, the Vintage Reserve Club. After 30 days, these limited releases are offered to the public at the Chateau Ste. Michelle wine shop in Woodinville and online.
We especially enjoyed the 2009 Oak Oval Gewurztraminer and the 2008 Grenache. In a departure from their Columbia Valley Gewurztraminer that is fermented in stainless steel, the 2009 Oak Oval Gewurztraminer was fermented in a “Fuder”, a large upright oak barrel that gives the wine a touch of richness. Gewurztraminer pairs well with spicy foods, particularly Asian cuisine. Grenache is primarily a blending grape, but in recent years, more and more winemakers are producing it as a single varietal wine. I, for one, am glad that is the case, and this 2008 Grenache is a great example of what the grape variety has to offer.
For those of you who have not had much, or any, Grenache or Gewurztraminer, I encourage you to give them a try. Both are excellent food wines.
2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Grenache (Wahluke Slope, Washington): 82% Grenache and 18% Syrah. Deep red in color. Nice nose with gamey and savory aromas. Red and black fruits, licorice, and spice come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium, smooth tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25
2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Oak Oval Gewurztraminer (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Aromatic with lychee, apricot, and white peach on both the nose and palate. Dry and light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, refreshing finish. Spicy with a touch of richness. Residual Sugar: 0.72%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $17
Filed under: American Wine, Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25