More About Chateau Ste Michelle
Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard
Canoe Ridge was formed 12 million years ago when a powerful river of
lava flowed across the Columbia Valley. The ancient lava flows followed
the Columbia River and left huge layers of basalt behind. Deep, free-draining
soils sit on top of the basalt, deposited by great floods from the last
Ice Age 13,000 years ago. The soils are a loose, sandy loam scattered
with chunks of basalt. Young vines in search of water and nutrients easily
establish deep root systems here.
Our vineyard is planted on the south face
of the ridge that rises 950 feet above sea level. The steep slope
and the vineyard's proximity to the river alleviate frost pockets
and seasonal temperature extremes. Because winters are milder than
other parts of the valley, spring bud break is earlier. In the summer,
the river moderates temperatures again, giving us an extended growing
season and adding more character to the grapes.
Chardonnay: Delicate; tropical fruit
Merlot: Black cherry, licorice
Cabernet Sauvignon: Juniper berry, cassis, black fruit
Cold Creek Vineyard
Creek is one of the oldest vineyards in the Columbia Valley, and since
we first planted here in 1973, it's developed quite a reputation for
rich, flavorful grapes. The weak soil at Cold Creek - a silty loam
- has a lot to do with the intensity of the fruit. Grape vines are
an obstinate lot. Those grown in meager soils, like Cold Creek, tend
to produce moderate crops and concentrated grapes. Cold Creek's soil
is also lighter and drains easier than most other Columbia Valley vineyards.
This is a real advantage for us, especially because Cold Creek is one
of the driest sites in the state. Since it rarely rains here, we use
irrigation to control water to the vine. We're stingy with it too because
less water seems to dial up the grapes' flavor. The vineyard is one
the warmest in the state, and this also makes a difference. Not only
does Cold Creek provide us with fully mature fruit, the warm temperatures
keep the berries small, adding intensity to the grapes at harvest.
Riesling: Apricot, honeysuckle, tangerine
Chardonnay: Classic pear, apple
Merlot: Ripe berry, mocha
Cabernet Sauvignon: Intense; cherry, raspberry
As its name suggestions, Horse Heaven
Vineyard is located in the Horse Heaven Hills adjacent to the Columbia
River 20 miles south of Prosser, Washington. The vineyard's quick-draining
soils are deposited on a rocky volcanic base of fractured basalt.
We first planted Sauvignon Blanc here in the 1980's on the south
side of the vineyard. Irrigation management is an important part
of the quality of the fruit we harvest. The area's low annual rainfall
and the vineyard's free-draining soils allow us to control water
to the vine to keep the Sauvignon Blanc from becoming overly aggressive.
Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, tropical fruit
Indian Wells Vineyard
Indian Wells sits at the base of the Wahluke
Slope and is one of the few west-facing vineyards in the Columbia Valley.
With its rows planted north to south, the vines receive plenty of afternoon
heat. The grapes take full advantage of these warm afternoons to assert
ripe fruit flavors. The contrasting cool nights promote good structure,
balance and color intensity.
At one time, the Columbia River flowed
over what is now Indian Wells. A sizeable sandbar nearby is a reminder
of the vineyard's origins; and the soil composition, a mix of river
gravel and sand, reflects the river's ancient course. The soil here
is sandier than the surrounding properties. Nutrient poor but well-aerated,
the sandy cobble encourages vines to work hard to find water. These
difficult conditions help to keep vegetative growth in check, encouraging
the vine to put energy into its grapes first. The differences in
flavor and varietal exuberance are marked, and you can taste them
in the wines from Indian Wells.
Chardonnay: Crisp apple, pear
Merlot: Rich black fruit, raspberry
CSM uses the very best sections of their
many vineyards to produce their highly regarded "reserve" wines.
If CSM's Single Vineyard wines are best
described as representing "Old World" winemaking dedicated
to terroir, then the Reserves are best expressed as "New World" winemaking
dedicated to the grape.
Produced in extremely limited quantities representing
no more than 1% of a vintage, CSM's Reserve wines are crafted to represent
the best of a varietal. The most ideal sections of the best vineyards
are identified based on their quality history, then farmed within winemaker
specifications to insure the best fruit possible from each site.
These small lots of fruit are harvested and vinified separately. Prior
to determining the final blend, the winemaker will taste each lot, create
a variety of combinations and, listening to his own palette, choose the
lots that will make up the finished wine. This allows CSM winemakers
to combine the distinct characteristics from each vineyard into a multi-layered,
harmonious blend producing an age-worthy wine of uncompromising quality
Chateau Ste Michelle's Partnerships:
Col Solare and Eroica
there was a wine, there are an idea -- to form a partnership between
Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Washington State's
Chateau Ste. Michelle and together explore what the vineyards of
the Columbia Valley might yield.
Col Solare is the result, a wine of global distinction that quickly earned
a place in the critics' hearts with the debut of the 1995 and 1996 vintages.
A blended red wine with great structure
and character from the vineyards of the Columbia Valley, Col Solare
is styled for aging elegantly over time. Quantities are extremely
Antinori is one of Italy's most important producers. Though the family
has been making wines since the 14th century, Piero Antinori has never
let tradition stand in the way of innovation. He pioneered Super Tuscan
wines such as Tignanello and holds vineyards in not only Tuscany but
also Piedmont, Umbria, California and Hungary.
Could Eroica be the beginning of the Riesling
Renaissance many wine lovers believe is long overdue? Named after
Beethoven's masterpiece, the winemaking partnership between famed
Mosel winemaker Dr. Ernst Loosen and Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoyed
a standing ovation at the August 2000 debut of the 1999 vintage.
The partnership is dedicated to exploring a wide range of Riesling
styles with grapes from the Columbia Valley.
The estate of Dr. Loosen owns some of the most renowned sites on the
Mosel in Wehlen, Urzig and Erden and is acclaimed as one of Germany's
most consistent quality producers across a range of styles, from dry
Everything is coming up Riesling
By Christina Kelly
Avalon Staff Writer
first time I saw Eroica, a new Riesling made by Chateau
Ste. Michelle, I thought the label read, "Erotica."
"I'll take two of those," I said
to the clerk, grinning from ear to ear, oblivious to my dyslexia.
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