There are a number of wineries that get overlooked because most of what they are known for making is low quality wine.  Mondavi, Inglenook and Beringer are a few that come to mind.  They all have some very inexpensive wines that are not very good, yet they also make some very nice high-end wines that get overlooked just because of the reputation of their cheap wines.  Another one of those wineries that gets slightly overlooked is Chateau Ste. Michelle.  They are mostly known for their sweet Rieslings and entry level wines.  I am even guilty of never really giving their single vineyard wines a try.  I also did not care much for company who owned the winery until recently.  Until 2021, the winery was owned by the company who owns Marlboro cigarettes, but thankfully they have since sold the winery.

Despite making lower quality entry level wines, Chateau Ste. Michelle has some excellent single vineyard wines which are also very well priced.  We recently had an amazing deal on their Canoe Ridge Merlot which was amazing for the price.  This opened my eyes and so I decided to try another wine from them.  I decided to try the Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon.  This did not disappoint either!  Planted in the 1970s, this comes from Washington's oldest and most acclaimed vineyards.  I also feel that wines from Washington are overlooked.  With the soaring prices of California, Washington seems like such a value.  You get single vineyard quality wines for well under $50.  

The Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is big and robust.  It opens with a nose of dark fruits, soft oak and a touch of earth.  The palate is full of creamy vanilla, dark blackberry and tasty mocha and chocolate notes.  It finishes with velvety tannins and elegance but has a firm grip as well.  All this from a wine that comes in at under $30!  This is a description of a fine Napa Valley Cabernet.  

Even our friend big Jim Suckling gave this a 92-points score.  "A fragrant nose of pine, blackcurrant, blackberry and overturned earth. Full-bodied with soft tannins. Meaty on the palate. Rich, savory and concentrated. Sustainable. Drink or hold."  Not only does this already have 5 years of age, but as Suckling says, you can hold it for even longer.  

I find this wine to be such a hidden gem and such an amazing value.  Sometimes you can't let a reputation get in the way of trying different wines.  Just because you may not like one wine from a winery doesn't mean you will hate them all.  I learned this from Chateau Ste. Michelle.  I will try and not judge a book by its cover anymore.  Definitely take a chance on this wine and you will love it!

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

-Patrick Mulrooney

By Patrick Mulrooney 0 comment


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