What started in 1871 — with Missionaries and French fur traders bringing vinifera plants to eastern Washington — turned into the American Wine Growers launching Ste. Michelle wines in 1967 and creating their first Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Semillon and Grenache Rosé.
In 1974, the Washington State winery phenomenon, Chateau Ste. Michelle, broke ground in Woodinville, Washington and is now home to the labels’ white wine production. Fast forward to today; Chateau Ste. Michelle provides wine tastings, food pairings, events, concerts and more for those intrigued by this award-winning winery.
Feature Flight Tastings
Each month Chateau Ste. Michelle holds a Feature Flight Tasting highlighting a few of their own wines, estates and partners. During the month of March, I was able to taste their themed Feature Flight, Celebrating the Women Behind Our Wines, for Women’s History Month. This flight featured two whites and two reds spotlighting a few of their women winemakers. The following descriptions are courtesy of the winery:
2019 Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc by Tracy Keller, Winemaker at Horse Heaven Hills
The combination of sun on the south-facing slope of the Horse Heaven Vineyard and winds from the Columbia River produce characteristics of aromatic ripe pear and honeysuckle on the nose and a bright grapefruit flavor to the Sauvignon Blanc (100% Sauvignon Blanc).
2017 Limited Release Viognier by Kara Koh, Winemaker at Yakima Valley
This vibrant Viognier is mostly fermented in stainless to show off lively floral aromas, juicy tropical tones and hints of stone fruit. It is aged on lees for a velvety palate. The barrel portion of the blend is co-fermentation of Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne to add the rich spicy complexity on the finish (93% Viognier, 4% Roussanne, 3% Marsanne).
2015 Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot by Holly Wells, Winemaker at Horse Heaven Hills
Elegance, concentration, and fine tannins described this Merlot from the Canoe Ridge Estate vineyard. Their warmest and earliest on record – the 2015 vintage adds a layer of ripe dark cherry fruit with a rich mouthfeel of elegant structure (91% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon).
2016 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon by Leah Adint, Winemaker at Red Mountain
Red Mountain is one of Washington’s warmest and most renowned regions for rich, concentrated red wines. The Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted to highlight the ripe fruit characteristics and intense aromas and flavor of black cherry, cardamom spice, and dark chocolate with refined tannins (98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Syrah).
Chateau Ste. Michelle has a few food options to pair with your tasting experience. We paired our flight with a delicious brie and cranberry panini and arugula side salad. We even got a few extra tastings of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 2019 Dry Riesling, as it’s one of my favorites. Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the world’s largest producers of Riesling, producing one million cases of Riesling annually. Their label can be found in all 50 states and nearly 100 countries.
Investing in quality and sustainability is what Chateau Ste. Michelle has spent decades working on, with the finest winemaking equipment and high-class winemaking talent. These credentials led Chateau Ste. Michelle to earn some of the highest accolades in the wine industry, including winning “Winery of the Year” from Wine & Spirits 22 times, being listed as one of the “Top 100” wines from Wine Spectator 18 times, having the #1 selling Riesling worldwide in 2020, and so many more. You can see the full list of their accomplishments on the Chateau Ste. Michelle website.
More Winery Experiences
Chateau Ste. Michelle not only has their monthly Feature Flight ($25 per person, Vintage Reserve Club (VRC): $20 per person), but they also provide you with other winey experiences specific to what you would like to try. They currently have their latest pop-up tasting experience featuring the Elements Wine Collection ($25 per person, VRC: $20 per person), a new release from Chateau Ste. Michelle. This is an exclusive tasting experience because the Elements Wine Collection will not be released to the public until late Spring.
Although Washington’s weather can be unpredictable, Chateau Ste. Michelle is redefining your winery experience with an igloo-style tent ($175 per 2-hour rental, VRC: $150 per 2-hour rental). This waterproof, private igloo allows you and your party to enjoy your tasting outside with the perks of not being drenched in the Washington rains.
Many of these winey experiences require a reservation or appointment to ensure correct and safe accommodations for every guest. You can find the dates and times to book each experience offered at Chateau Ste. Michelle on their website.
In the comments below, let us know your favorite Chateau Ste. Michelle wine or winery experience. Happy tasting!
Featured image: Chateau Ste. Michelle. Additional photos by the author.