Michelle Sparkling: New Look, Same Great Bubbly



By Kori ~ December 18th, 2013.

Michelle sparkling wines from Washington State launched nationwide this fall. Previously known as Domaine Ste. Michelle, Michelle is a fresh take on their sparkling wines and feature new packaging. Located in Paterson, Washington, Michelle by Domaine Ste. Michelle is the largest producer of sparkling wines in Washington State and one of the largest sparkling wine houses in the United States, producing more than 300,000 cases each year. Michelle has been producing an excellent array of value sparkling wines for over 35 years. Rick Casqueiro has been head winemaker since 1994.

Michelle offers a Brut, Brut Rosé, and Extra Dry sparkling wine. Recently, we had the opportunity to try them in a blind samples tasting. All three sparkling wines offer very good overall quality and deliver the most bang for your buck. While the look is new, we found the same great bubbly we’ve come to know and love.

The new packaging definitely has a feminine flair. According to the winery, the majority of their sales are made to women, which is why they decided to go that direction with their refreshed image. While I understand their rationale, I hope that the new packaging doesn’t hurt their following among men. The Wine Peeps’ favorite continues to be the Brut Rosé. It is excellent and has become our “house” sparkling wine. While Dad (John) and Colby enjoy it as much as Mom (LaGayle) and I do, I think the guys are now less likely to buy it at the store since it has blush hues on a white label and comes in a clear bottle so the pink wine is clearly visible. The previous Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut Rosé bottle was much more subtle.

Too often, people only think of sparkling wines to celebrate special occasions or to ring in the New Year. I absolutely love bubbly and think that it should be enjoyed on a regular basis. Sparkling wines are also very food-friendly. All of the wines from Michelle can regularly be found for under $15 at your local grocery store and are great options to become your “house” sparkling wine that you don’t hesitate to open on a random Tuesday night, just because.

NV Michelle Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Meunier. Small, fast bead of bubbles. Light, pinkish salmon in color. Very aromatic with fresh raspberry, watermelon, and floral notes on the nose. Raspberry, watermelon, and a touch of cranberry and cinnamon come through on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a very long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14; Available elsewhere, $8 to $16

NV Michelle Brut Sparkling Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 63% Chardonnay, 19% Pinot Noir, and 18% Pinot Gris. Small, fast bead of bubbles. Pale, greenish straw yellow. Aromatic with white peach, apple, and yeast on both the nose and palate. Dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long, refreshing 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 $14; Available elsewhere, $8 to $14

NV Michelle Extra Dry Sparkling Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 63% Chardonnay, 19% Pinot Noir, and 18% Pinot Gris. Small, fast bead of bubbles. Aromatic with white peach, pear, and floral notes on both the nose and palate. Off-dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity and a 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 $14; Available elsewhere, $9 to $16


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Sparkling Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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