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Four Wines of the Week for Holiday Parties

Wines from Washington State’s best big winery, Château Ste. Michelle

By Wes Marshall, 9:45AM, Thu. Nov. 7, 2013

While we usually like to focus on tiny, lesser-known wineries, we also love finding huge winemaking operations that are good enough that we can just recommend their portfolio. There are only a couple dozen wineries like this in the world and it is really valuable to know them. That way, no matter where you are, you can always find a good bottle of wine.

Year after year, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates produces some of the country’s best wines, all the while toeing the line on prices. How do they produce such good wines? Location, location, location. Château Ste. Michelle and their sister estates have a huge chunk of real estate that falls exactly along the same parallels as Burgundy in France and Friuli and Alto Adige in Italy.

With the holiday season approaching, I particularly want to recommend four wines from their portfolio that will work well with entertaining as well as the big, roasted, and rich flavors of the season. They have split off their sparkling wine production to a label that simply says “Michelle.” They are now making a sparkling rosé called Michelle Brut Rosé.


Photo courtesy of Ste. Michelle Estates
It is made almost solely from Pinot Noir grapes and uses the same methods as in Champagne. This delicious wine is dry, toasty and filled with berry aromas. The palate-cleansing bubbles are an ideal match with lightly fried or sautéed foods. It’s also delicious just standing around talking. On sale, it is often under $10, which is an amazing bargain for the quality.

Ste. Michelle made their reputation early on with perfectly balanced Rieslings and they still have the knack for making food-friendly Rieslings at ridiculously low prices. Their Columbia Valley Riesling is perfect with any spicy Asian-style food and is often available at under $8.


Photo courtesy of Ste. Michelle Estates
If you would like to get an idea why chefs go nuts for Riesling, try their Eroica, which is the product of a winemaking partnership between Château Ste. Michelle and famous German winemaker Ernst Loosen. It runs just under $20.

Photo courtesy of Ste. Michelle Estates

One of my favorite vineyards of the Ste. Michelle Estates is Canoe Ridge, especially their Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a bit of a splurge in the $30+ range, especially if you are having a lot of guests.


Photo courtesy of Ste. Michelle Estates
The quality is not only stellar, but it’s one of those wines you can park in the back of your mind and know that, wherever you find it, it will be consistently delicious. All of these wines are available from any fine wine outlet and many better grocers.

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