Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wonders of Washington

I went to a tasting of Chateau Ste Michelle wines last night and was yet again very pleased with the quality. The Columbia Valley designated wines were the best in my opinion. At their price point they offered the best quality and level of interest. It's been said over and over but it's true, Merlot and Syrah are the two star grapes of Washington.

My favorites of the night were:

Ste Michelle Dry Riesling: New to the market. Light silver color with aromas of peach, mandarin orange and jasmine. The vibrant acidity elevates the nectarine and peach flavors and washes away what little residual sugar there is. The fruit hits in the mid palate and the wine finishes dry. Light stoniness is evident. Lovely.

Ste Michelle Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc: Pale straw color with aromas of lemon peel, lime and light stone. Slightly creamy on the palate which leads into bright acid. The finish lingers with lemon and grapefruit. Pair with meaty/flaky grilled fish with a grapefruit salsa.

Ste Michelle Rose (95% Syrah, 3% Mourvedre 2% Viognier): Bright pink/purple color with a nose of mixed berries and light hints of cinnamon/clove. The fruit hits sweet on the palate and lingers but the acidity is high enough as to wash that all away and keeps it from being cloying. Full bodied for a rose. Pair with grilled chicken.

Stella Maris Red "Star of the Sea": Dark purple color with aromas of spice, dark fruits and leather. The black fruits carry over to the palate along with dried meat and spices. The tannins are evident and balanced. Very plush. Fantastic. Worth every penny of the $30 price tag. Pair with grilled lamb or beef, and dried meat (Jamon Serrano, Breasola, Speck).

The Snoqualmie line of wines were insipid and hollow. But what can be expected for their under $10 price?

Ste Michelle Estates produces excellent wines. Seek them out. The good news is that they are readily available and affordable.

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