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Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling Review

Crisp, vibrant acidity. Notes of fresh citrus, green apple and white peach. An affordable crowd-pleasing white perfect for casual sipping or pairing. This aptly summarizes the wildly popular Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling from Washington’s Columbia Valley. As America’s number one Riesling, it delivers on the variety’s signature traits – racy acidity, vibrant fruit, and refreshing flavor – at a price point that beckons you back for sip after sip.

Exact Wine Name: Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling (Columbia Valley)
Producer: Chateau Ste Michelle
Country/Region of Origin: United States, Washington State, Columbia Valley
Grape Varietal(s): 100% Riesling
Type: White Wine
Style: Dry (but varies depending on vintage)
Vintage Year: Varies widely (2023, 2022, 2021, etc.)
AVB: 11.6%
Retail Price Range: $8 – $14 USD
Awards Won: Numerous awards, including Double Gold Medal (San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition), Gold Medal (Decanter World Wine Awards), etc. (Specific awards vary by vintage)
Aroma Profile Details: Apples, peaches, pears, citrus, minerals (can vary by vintage)

But how does this value-driven Riesling truly taste? Does it live up to its reputation as a gold-medal winning crowd favorite? I uncorked a bottle to get to the bottom of this white wine wonder.

Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling 2021 Impressions

Imagine swirling a ray of sunshine in your glass. That’s the Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling – a pale yellow beauty flecked with gold, begging to be sipped on a breezy patio. The first whiff is an orchestra of aromas – crisp green apples, juicy peaches, a whisper of lime zest, and maybe a hint of honeysuckle. It’s fresh, inviting, and makes your mouth water in anticipation.

4.4Good
This Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling bursts with sunshine vibes: fresh fruit aromas, light and playful on the palate, with a perfectly balanced sweetness and acidity. It's versatile for any occasion, pairs beautifully with food, and steals the show at its affordable price. Grab a bottle and savor a sip of summer!

Positives

  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Well-made
  • Crisp and refreshing
  • Good value for money.

Negatives

  • Can be seen as simple
  • Lacking complexity compared to some European Rieslings.

Breakdown

  • Drinkability 4.3/5
  • Food pairing 4.5/5
  • Value for money 4.5/5
  • Personal preference 4.4/5

One sip, and you’re met with a playful dance on the tongue. Light bubbles tickle like laughter, while the body finds a perfect balance between weightless and just-enough-there. The flavors? An explosion of sunshine – crisp apple, juicy pear, honeydew melon’s whisper, and a citrus zing that wakes you up like a cool summer splash. It’s not too sweet, not too dry, a delightful harmony that lingers on your palate.

This Riesling is an absolute charmer. It’s the kind of wine that makes you linger on a porch swing, watching clouds drift by, and savoring every sip. It’s versatile enough for a picnic lunch, a fancy seafood dinner, or even just a quiet moment of self-care. And at its price point, it’s an absolute steal!

So, next time you’re craving a little sunshine in a glass, skip the dusty textbooks and grab a bottle of Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a song in your heart (or at least, that’s what happened to me!).

Cheers to sunshine in a glass!

P.S. I loved how this wine played with food. A simple grilled chicken salad with lemon vinaigrette? The Riesling’s acidity cut through the richness like a dream. It was a match made in heaven!

chateau ste michelle riesling
chateau ste michelle riesling

When to Enjoy

With its bright acidity, citrusy vibrancy, and downright drinkability, Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling suits plenty of occasions for sipping. It’s lovely as an aperitif wine to welcome guests or stimulate the appetite. Additionally, the Columbia Valley’s typically hot sunny climate makes this a natural patio pounder for backyard hangs.

I’d also bring it along on picnics, with the wine’s crisp personality and chill-worthy style perfect for park lounging and noshing on finger foods. Beyond casual occasions, it works beautifully on wine bar menus for by-the-glass pours. I’d confidently order it in restaurants too, knowing its upfront fruit profile suits the modern palate.

Flavor Profile

So what flavors and aromas define this off-dry crowd-pleaser? Let’s dive into the tasting notes:

  • Color: Pale straw yellow with silver-green highlights
  • Aroma: Lime cordial, white peach, green apple, whiff of slate minerality
  • Palate: Medium acidity, medium body. Green apple, white nectarine, lime zest, slate minerality, hint of gooseberry on the crisp finish.

The vibrant acidity keeps each mouthful refreshing while subtle fruity sweetness provides an easygoing charm. Weighing in at a modest 11% alcohol, it’s a quenching wine that invites you back for more. While it doesn’t offer intricacy or contemplative depth, its purity of ripe Washington State fruit shines through beautifully.

Food Pairings

With its medium body, racy acidity and flavor echos of citrus and stone fruit, Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling boasts incredible food versatility. It serves as a refreshing palate cleanser alongside rich seafood like salmon, halibut or shellfish. Additionally, it pairs swimmingly with spicy Asian dishes, cutting through sticky sauces with ease. Lighter protein options like chicken, turkey or pork marry seamlessly too.

Beyond proteins, the wine’s vibrant nature suits the vast world of vegetables splendidly. Think salads of all kinds – whether green, grain, pasta or potato based. Finally, it complements soft, young cheeses (brie, chevre) while contrasting aged hard cheeses (parmesan, aged gouda) beautifully. In short, it provides a pitch-perfect pairing for everyday meals.

Some classic food pairing combinations include:

  • Pan seared halibut with lemon caper Beurre Blanc *Vietnamese chicken salad with nuac cham dressing
  • Brie and apple flatbread with arugula
  • Cedar plank grilled salmon
  • Steamed mussels or clams
  • Turkey panini with pesto and mozzarella
  • Burrata caprese salad with tomato, basil and balsamic
  • Vietnamese summer rolls
  • Margherita pizza

However, you’ll want to avoid pairing overly sweet dishes that clash with the wine’s vibrant acidity. Think heavy cream sauces, desserts, or intensely spicy foods that mask its delicate fruit profile.

Awards and Accolades

With Riesling securing its place as an American fine wine success, Washington State leads the charge for domestic production. As the state’s Riesling leader, Chateau Ste Michelle accordingly nets consistent award recognition:

  • 2021 – #53 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wines – One of the publication’s highest domestically produced wines
  • 2021 – Wine Enthusiast: 90 points (‘Excellent, Highly Recommended’)
  • 2020 – Wine Spectator: TOP 100 Values of the Year – One of only 10 domestic wines included out of 100
  • 2019 – Wine Enthusiast: Best Buy – Highly recommended at its price point
  • 2018 – Wine & Spirits: Year’s Best US Riesling – Top domestic Riesling of the year

As visible above, Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling earns top awards annually for its balance, consistency, and high quality-to-price ratio. While global Riesling benchmarks still top critics’ lists, this Washington wine holds its own domestically both in acclaim and commercial success.

Key Takeaways

What key points stand out for this definitive American Riesling? Here are the key takeaways:

  • Delivers classic Riesling vibrancy and balance at a killer value
  • Washington vineyard sourcing ensures consistency and high quality
  • Winemaker Wendy Stuckey blends small lots for complex flavor
  • Racy acidity and stone fruit flavors appeal broadly to modern palates
  • Wins awards annually for quality-to-price ratio
  • America’s number #1 selling Riesling, mass consumer approved
  • Food versatility makes it a crowd-pleasing white for gatherings

In summary, well-deserved commercial success and consistent critical acclaim prove Chateau Ste Michelle aims squarely at enjoyment-driven balance over varietal purity or site expression. Washington Riesling still undoubtedly leads domestic production for the variety, and this bottling deserves its place at the table. Its price-to-quality ratio can’t be beat.

The Verdict: Do the Awards Hype Live Up to Reality?

In a word: Yes.

The tangy acidity, stone fruit expressiveness, easygoing balance and subtle sweetness indeed deliver on Riesling’s food-friendly credentials. While it may not dazzle with Okanagan or Finger Lakes Riesling levels of intensity or complexity, it squarely nails the apple. For only $8-14, this crowd-pleasing quaffer suits casual drinking occasions aplenty and punches well above its under-$15 price class.

With Chateau Ste Michelle’s broad distribution and large production scale, I’d confidently order this by the glass to pair with appetizers or lighter fare. For everyday quaffing occasions, backyard hangs or wine bar visits, this Riesling fills the bill. The value, balance and drinkability justify the awards hype and commercial success. It certainly earns my recommendation for an affordable, food-versatile white. With that said, let’s explore

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