Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wine Blogging Wednesday #48 - Back To Your Roots

The theme for the 4th Birthday of Wine Blogging Wednesday (#48) is "Back To Your Roots." Our WBW founder and this months host, Lenn Thompson of Lenndevours, asked us to dig deep to our “roots” and take a look back into our wine-drinking history. He has asked us to pick one of the wines from the beginning of our wine journey, taste it again and tell our readers about it.

This theme got me to thinking about my roots with wine. Of course, it started with my father’s fermentation projects and later my wine repertoire would encompass such fine domestics such as Spanada, Annie Green Springs, and I thought I was really living when a fancy-shaped bottle of Lancers adorned the dinner table during my youth (note sarcasm). However, in the mid-1970's my palate peaked and became interested in something much better - - something I could enjoy within my budget, but a wine that was worthy of paying attention to - - something I could enjoy socially wearing more formal attire and a wine that could be served for dining.

In 1967, American Wine Growers began a new line of premium vinifera wines called “Ste. Michelle Vintners” under the direction of legendary California winemaker and consultant Andre Tchelistcheff. Ste. Michelle Vintners planted its first vines in Eastern Washington in 1972 and the rest seems like history, considering it wasn’t that long ago. In 1974 I would taste a vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon and it made me take a second look at Lancers and through the years I took a third, fourth and several looks later at this wine. Chateau Ste Michelle wines have always been my "go-to wines" when I wanted a wine that was easily accessible and affordable. These have always been solid wines that have typified what the varietals should taste like. To newbie wine drinkers and when I am out of town looking for an affordable wine with no surprises, my motto is: When in doubt, go Ste. Michelle.

Thirty years later, I would return to the 2004 vintage of Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. With one sniff of the aroma there's no doubt this is Washington fruit. Aromas of bramble berries, vanilla and cocoa came through with a touch of cigar box. The tannins from the dark Cabernet Sauvignon grape were there, but easy and approachable. The mouth was round and full of dark fruit, but this every day Cabernet Sauvignon could stand next to some of the best Washington wines. For me, this wine is a great everyday sipper and it pairs well with bites of hard salami and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, a local drive-in burger or a grilled steak. And it works quite well with a decadent chocolate dessert or even a chocolate candybar.

Chateau Ste. Michelle has received some of the highest accolades in the industry, including “American Winery of the Year 2004” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine

1 comment:

William said...

Great post that taught me about the backstory behind Chateau Ste. Michelle. I agree, they are a go-to wine for all purposes. I was really hooked on their Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc for a few years.

Thanks for putting the detail behind the winery. I learned something today. :-)