Current Releases from Chateau Ste. Michelle

By Kori ~ October 17th, 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.

We recently had the opportunity to taste a number of the current releases from Chateau Ste. Michelle, across their family of wines, in a blind samples tasting. We have already featured a number of their Columbia Valley wines in our A Wine for Tonight series. Three wines that do not meet the criteria for that series because they retail for over $15 and are not as widely available, yet are worthy of your attention, are the 2008 Ethos Late Harvest White Riesling, the 2007 Ethos Reserve Syrah, and the 2008 Artist Series Meritage.

The Ethos Late Harvest Riesling is a decadent treat. This special wine was made from select Riesling grapes that were left on the vine longer in order to achieve the natural condition of Botrytis, or noble rot. Botrytis concentrates the sugars and flavors of the fruit.

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 2007 Ethos Reserve Syrah definitely fits that bill. It is a big, yet elegant, wine.

Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Artist Series features both artisan winemaking and fine art. The label on the 2008 vintage features the work of artist and photographer Cara Barer, who changes a common reference book into a work of sculpture and photographs the outcome. For the first time, the 2008 Artist Series blend includes all five of the Bordeaux grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Late Harvest White Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Golden yellow in color. Nice nose with floral, white peach, and orange peel aromas. White peach, tangerine, orange peel, and floral flavors come through on the palate. Sweet and medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with good mouthfeel and a long, refreshing finish. A delicious dessert wine. Residual Sugar: 22.8%
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25 [375ml]; Available elsewhere, $35 to $37

2007 Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Reserve Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Dark purplish red in color. Nice nose with espresso bean and blackberry aromas. Black fruit, espresso, and dust come through on the palate. Full-bodied and lively with medium to 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 $28; Available elsewhere, $26 to $30

2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Artist Series Meritage Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Aromatic with black fruit and oak on the nose. Black fruit, oak, leather, licorice, and a hint of chocolate come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $55

Filed under: American Wine, Dessert Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Riesling, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25

Reader's Comments

  1. George Wroblewski | October 18th, 2011 at 6:19 am

    We have been selling Ch.Ste. Michelle wines in the UK for a number of years now. Great wines from a great winery.

  2. Kori | October 19th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Glad to hear it. Cheers!