Chateau Ste. Michelle: Current Fall Releases



By Kori ~ December 5th, 2012.

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.

We recently had the opportunity to taste a number of the current fall releases from Chateau Ste. Michelle, across their family of wines, in a blind samples tasting. We were especially impressed with the 2011 Gewurztraminer and 2010 Merlot in the Columbia Valley lines as well as the 2009 Limited Release Boreal Red Wine and 2009 Ethos Reserve Syrah.

Ethos means “character” in Greek, the “distinctive spirit” of a specific culture, movement or philosophy. For Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Ethos Reserve series of wines, winemaker Bob Bertheau endeavors to make limited production wines that represent the “best of the vintage.” The 2009 Ethos Reserve Syrah definitely fits that bill. It is a big, yet elegant, wine.

The 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.

However, when it comes to delivering serious bang for your buck, the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley line is hard to beat.

2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewurztraminer (Columbia Valley, Washington): 98% Gewurztraminer and 2% Muscat Canelli. Pale straw yellow in color. Beautiful nose with honey, white peach, and floral aromas and flavors. Slightly off-dry and light-bodied. Well-balanced with a long finish. Very crisp and refreshing. Residual Sugar: 1.95%
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $9; Available elsewhere, $7 to $10

2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot (Columbia Valley, Washington): 91% Merlot, 4% Syrah, and 5% Blender varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Grenache). Deep, dark red. Nice nose with aromas of black plum, black cherry, and leather. More black fruit and leather as well as spice come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium tannins. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $16; Available elsewhere, $12 to $15

2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Boreal Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier. Dark, dense purple. Very aromatic with black fruit, cedar, and spice on the nose. Blackberry, cinnamon, clove, and a touch of smoked meat come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high, dry tannins. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $30

2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Reserve Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Syrah. Dark, dense purple in color. Nice nose with black fruit, eucalyptus, black pepper, and spice aromas. Espresso, cocoa, black fruit, and a touch of game come through on the palate. Full-bodied and lively with high tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $35

2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Chardonnay. Pale to medium yellow. Aromatic with butter and popcorn on the nose. Apple, pear, and a touch of butter come through on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $13; Available elsewhere, $7 to $11

2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark red. Nice nose with black plum, oak, and earthy aromas. Black plum, oak, and chocolate come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins, and a medium to long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $28; Available elsewhere, $22 to $30

2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris (Columbia Valley, Washington): 96% Pinot Gris and 4% Viognier. Pale, greenish straw yellow. Aromatic with peach and apricot on both the nose and palate. Dry and light-bodied with lively acidity and a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $13; Available elsewhere, $9 to $13

2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Mourvedre (Wahluke Slope, Washington): 83% Mourvedre and 17% Syrah. Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with blackberry, game, and spice on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high, dry tannins, and a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25

2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Cold Creek Red (Cold Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Washington): 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 12% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc. Dark, dense red in color. Aromatic with black fruit, cedar, and leather on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high, sweet tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $32

2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Druthers Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. Dark purplish red. Aromatic with black fruit, eucalyptus, and oak on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins, and a medium to long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $80


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Mourvedre, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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