There are countless states in the United States that produce wine but what we are flooded with here in Ontario is mostly Californian. Pity.
The Washington I am discussing is not the home of the January 6th coup attempt. That was Washington in the District of Columbia. This is Washington State south of British Columbia in Canada. Although across from D.C. is the state of Virginia with a wine industry.
We see Chateau Ste. Michelle wines on occasion at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and also wines from Washington’s Columbia Crest which is Washington’s largest winery with close to 8 million cases sold a year.
Why not try the Chateau Ste. Michelle 2020 Columbia Valley Chardonnay?
It has a light gold colour. As with many Chardonnays it is apple and pear on the nose. There is also some guava, honey and cantaloupe. There is a good density of aromas. On the palate there is a bit of heat not surprising considering the 14% alcohol. There is some tangerine, vanilla ice cream and baked apple on the palate. If you like a forceful and even aggressive Chardonnay here is an example. Yes the acids are in check as well as the oak but it has more power than character. I would say having had crab cakes with a spicy sauce recently at the Oban Inn and Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake this wine would have tamed the spice but it might have overpowered my main a Chicken Supreme with a mushroom and truffle risotto. The finish is short and nondescript. Not mincing words but a ho-hum entry level Chardonnay.
(Chateau Ste. Michelle 2020 Columbia Valley Chardonnay, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Paterson & Woodinville, Washington, $19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 232439, 14%, 750 mL, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 84/100).
Next up is a sparkling white from Domaine Ste. Michelle made by the traditional method which is the way Champagne is made. On the nose loads of pear, baked apple, lime and guava with a sweet spot right in the middle like a bit of honey. On the palate a good cleansing bite with good minerality. There is pear, applesauce with a hint of honey so it doesn’t come across as an overly dry Brut making it a good match for Greek Roast chicken with roast potatoes cooked with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and oregano. This is a sparkler with character and something a bit different being the influence of honey on the palate and on the aromatics. A nice way to bring in the New Year!
(Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut Columbia Valley (Non-Vintage), Domaine Ste. Michelle, Paterson, Washington, $19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 557637, 750 mL, 11.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 90/100).