Food & Wine Magazine on Chateau Ste. Michelle: “America’s Great Value Winery”

by jason on May 20, 2007

Lettie Teague, reporter for Food & Wine Magazine and “one of the wine world’s best bargain hunters,” paid a visit to Woodinville, and her article can be found here.

Some highlights:

….several of the top 30 wine companies were sold within recent years, including (and most famously) Robert Mondavi. Yet there is one big wine company that is doing quite well: Washington state–based Chateau Ste. Michelle. My question was, why?

After all, the chief wine that Ste. Michelle makes is Riesling, a grape that most people still don’t fully understand or appreciate. Chateau Ste. Michelle is actually the biggest Riesling producer in the world. It’s not even located anywhere fashionable—not Napa or Sonoma, but the Pacific Northwest. Its name isn’t trendy; its labels aren’t cute. In fact, they are a bit dull—not unlike those of Bordeaux. (Perhaps they took that “château” thing a bit too seriously?)

But the shortcomings fortunately fall outside the bottle: Chateau Ste. Michelle makes some of the country’s most reliable value wines, year after year, especially Riesling, Cabernet and Merlot. Although this may not sound glamorous—not like making a 500-case, 100-point wine—it is, to me, equally laudable. After all, a wine that’s made well in large quantities (Chateau Ste. Michelle produces more than a million cases a year) not only reaches more wine drinkers, it’s also much harder to pull off.

Read the full article at the source.

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