One of Washington’s most historic wineries, the story of Chateau St. Michelle starts in 1912 in which the property was owned by a lumber baron Fredrick Stimson. As the 8th bonded winery in Washington, the hiring of Andre Tchelistcheff in the 1970s as head winemaker introduced a higher grade of wines called Ste. Michelle Vintners. The chateau itself was built in 1976 and St. Michelle established themselves as having two separate production facilities for red and white wine, with reds being made at their Canoe Ridge facility and their whites being made in Woodinville.
An expansive tour takes you by the huge production facility. The grounds are so gorgeous that people travel from all corners of the world to see the winery. They even host a ton of concerts on their grounds, from everything from Gypsy Kings to Huey Lewis and the News. I was able to taste some of the limited production new release wines from St. Michelle and was very impressed. Winemaker Bob Bertheau has been at St. Michelle since 2003. He has a master’s degree in enology from UC Davis and trained under some big names in wine, including Bob Sessions at Hanzell Vineyards and David Ramey at Chalk Hill.
Bertheau partners with Dr. Ernst Loosen in their Eroica project that impresses each year. I was so enamored by their 2013 Eroica Riesling that I put it on my 2014 Top 20 domestic wines list last year. The 2013 Eroica is a bright, mineral driven and flavorful quaff that is sure to satisfy anyone who enjoys Washington Riesling. The 2013 Eroica Gold also was highly impressive with its rich fruit flavors and wonderful acidity that begs for another sip. The Artist series lineup by Bertheau has been a huge hit for many years. The beautiful labeling is a sight to be seen but it what’s inside the bottle that impresses. I was able to sample a vertical including the 2010 (WWB, 93), 2011 (WWB, 91) and 2012 (WWB, 93) vintages. The Artist series wines are special occasion wines to cellar now and savor in years to come. Check out their wines at https://www.ste-michelle.com or look for the Eroica release, as well as the Artist series wines at Costco. #chateaustmichelle #stmichelle #wawine
2010 Chateau St. Michelle ‘Luxe’- The Cuvee was bottled (tirage) on 03/14/12. Secondary Fermentation in the bottle was completed about twenty weeks later. The wine was aged sur lie in the bottle for over 3 years prior to release. This delicious sparkling wine opens with aromas of toasted oak, brioche and pear. There are flavors of pear, red delicious apple and starfruit. Delicious and lithe effort with a lovely mousse. With its lovely effervescence, it is hard to believe this wine is over five years of age. Drink 2015-2022- 92
2013 Chateau St. Michelle Eroica- This is project first started in 1999 between Dr. Ernst Loosen and Chateau St. Michelle. Loosen and St. Michelle head winemaker Bob Bertheau utilized dozens of small lots, each reflecting a slight difference in character in the final blend of this warm vintage wine. 1.5% Residual sugar on this one, a Kabinette style Riesling. Lemon zest and golden delicious on the nose. Palate has great minerality. Lemon-lime flavors with red delicious, cantaloupe and slate. Outstanding effort, the best Eroica I've had in 10 years. -93
2013 Chateau St. Michelle ‘Ethos’ Chardonnay- Primarily Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek vineyard fruit, the wine was 100% sur lie aged for 9 months in 100% French oak (36% new, 60% 1-year-old and 4% 2-year-old barrels). This has lovely oak aromas of toasted oak, poached pear, butter and nutmeg. There are flavors of pear, crème brûlée, golden delicious and a long and lingering finish. This is rock solid. 1800 cases produced. Drink 2015-2022- 92
2012 Chateau St. Michelle Mouvedre- This limited release and tasting room only wine wine was blended with 15% Syrah. It spent16 months in 18% New French, 18% New American and 64% Neutral oak barrels. Lovely nose of smoked meats, spicebox, leather and oak. This leads to rich flavors of black olive, blackberry, smoked meats and green bell pepper. This is an impressive release, with a strong acid backbone. 1,106 cases made. Drink 2015-2024- 92
2012 Chateau St. Michelle ‘Cold Creek Vineyard’ Cabernet Franc- Originally planted in 1973, the Cold Creek vineyard is south facing, dry and warm site. This wine opens with aromas of blueberry, blackberry and oak. There are flavors of blueberry, blackberry, prune and red cherry. Delicious and open style. Tons of this made, 13,500 cases, so this should be easy to find. Drink 2015-2024- 92
2012 Chateau St. Michelle Malbec- This is limited release Malbec. 65% of the fruit was sourced from the Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard while 22% of the fruit was sourced from the Cold Creek Vineyard, with the remainder Indian Wells vineyard fruit. This wine opens with aromas of chocolate, white pepper, smoked meats and blackberry. There are flavors of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune and black olive. This is deep and delicious with lovely texture. Drink 2015-2025- 92
2012 Chateau St. Michelle 'Druthers' Cabernet- This is a pet project for the winemaker and comes from the Cold Creek vineyard, first planted in 1973. The wine opens with lovely aromas of milk chocolate, heavy oak and anise. There are flavors of blackberry, anise, creme de cassis and vanilla in this rich and muscular Cabernet. This is delicious right out of the bottle, not needing any aeration. Drink 2015-2025- 93
2012 Chateau St. Michelle Artist Series Meritage- The wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Malbec. This is primarily from Canoe Ridge Estate (72%) but is also from smaller percentages of the Cold Creek vineyard (16%), the Zephyr Ridge Vineyard (10%) and the Indian Wells Vineyard (2%). Aged for 22 months in French oak (69% new), there is a prominent oak feature to this wine but not in a detracting style. This wine opens with aromas of milk chocolate, black here and cassis alongside oak. There are flavors of blackberry, anise, coffee and milk chocolate. Lovely depth and mouthfeel. This needs another year of cellaring. Nice density to this modern style wine. Drink 2016-2029-93
2011 Chateau St. Michelle Artist Series Meritage – Primarily Cold Creek Vineyard fruit (69%), there are also smaller percentages of fruit from Horse Heaven Hills (25%) and Wahluke Slope (6%). The wine is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Merlot 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec. It was aged 20 months in French oak (66% new) prior to bottling. This wine opens with aromas of green bell pepper, black cherry and blackberry. There are flavors of anise, blackberry, red bell pepper, black cherry as this lithe wine lacks the depth of other artist series. Impressive effort considering the coldness of the vintage. Drink 2015-2025-91
2010 Chateau St. Michelle Artist Series Meritage- This highly impressive blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon with 18% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec. It was primarily sourced from the Cold Creek vineyard, one of Washington’s oldest vineyards, first planted in 1973. It also features Canoe Ridge vineyard fruit. This saw 20 months in 57% new French oak, with 4% new American oak. The wine opens with aromas of heavy oak and prune on the nose with spicebox and blackberry. There are flavors of blackberry, black cherry, anise and milk chocolate. This is simply delicious wine that is hard to lay down right now. Drink 2015-2024-93
2013 Chateau St. Michelle Eroica Gold- This is sourced primarily from the Viewcrest Vineyard in the Yakima Valley (62%) as well as the 30-year-old Horse Heaven Vineyard (38%), located adjacent to the Columbia River. This semi-sweet Riesling utilizes 7.5% residual sugar. It opens with aromas of petrol, pear and wet stone with honey. There are flavors of pear, golden delicious apple, minerals and nice richness. This open and lithe wine is drinking deliciously now. Drink 2015-2021- -92