Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington with some of the most mature vineyards in the Columbia Valley. The winery combines Old World winemaking with New World innovation and is best known for its award-winning Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chateau Ste. Michelle receives some of the highest accolades in the industry, including "American Winery of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast for 2004 and "2005 Winery of the Year" by Restaurant Wine. In addition, the winery's Eroica Riesling, crafted from a partnership with German winemaker Ernst Loosen, has been named to Wine Spectator's prestigious "Top 100" wines list for five consecutive years.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the few premium wineries in the world with two state-of-the-art wineries, one devoted to whites and another to reds. This dedicated approach to winemaking allows winemaker Bob Bertheau to build winemaking programs to the unique specifications of red and white wines. While all of Chateau Ste. Michelle's vineyards are located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains where the climate is dry and sunny, Bob Bertheau makes the award winning white wines in Woodinville, 15 miles northeast of Seattle. The winery's expansive, 87-acre estate hosts more than 250,000 visitors annually for tours, tastings, dinners and outdoor summer concerts.
Learn More About Gewurztraminer
Gewurztraminer (Guh-WERTZ-trah-meen-ehr) Spice is Nice
If you've ever smelled a lychee, you'll probably recognize a wine made from
Gewurztraminer. Gewurz, the german term for spice, adequately describes the
aromas and flavors that permeate wines made from the grape. Mostly grown in
and Germany's Pfalz region, Gewurztraminer is not the easiest vine to tend.
While it ripens quickly, it also needs some time on the vine to get all of its
aromas and acids balanced - which, in turn makes it more suitable for cooler
climates and constant attention.
Acidity is the maker or breaker of this grape. The distinct aromas and flavors
give the wine depth and body, but without good acid they can be cloying and
flat. Most Gewurtztraminers are dry, but so heady in aromas and texture, that
they can seem sweet to one's senses. You'll also notice that the wines are deep
and rich in color - the skins of the Gewurtztraminer are pinkish-red. Other
than lychee, typical descriptors of Gewurztraminer are roses and perfume. It's
blend of fruits and acid make it a perfect match for spicy food like Indian
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Alsace, Germany
Common Descriptors: lychee nut, floral, perfume
Learn More About Columbia Valley, Washington
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Merlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.