Thursday, July 27, 2017

Chateau Ste Michelle 50th Ann Special Bottling Cab

Chateau Ste. Michelle 50th Anniversary Special Bottling Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

More than any other question about wine, people ask me for a tip on a budget priced, high value, quality easy drinker. These wines are characterized as having high 'QPR' - quality price ratio. Of course high QPR is relative to its price point and quality and doesn't necessarily imply a low cost or budget conscious wine. When these wines are such, and are readily available with large production volume and wide availability I designate these wines 'Rick's Picks'! This is such a wine.  

I've often written ,there are once a year wines, once in a lifetime wines, once a month or once a week wines, and 'everyday' wines. The challenge is to find every day wine prices in wines of higher quality.  Walk, don't run out to get some, and grab a few or several bottles, not necessarily a case, and enjoy it with pizza, pasta and summer BBQ.

I actually discovered this wine when I ordered in from the wine list at Salerno's Pizza in Western Springs, IL. Its a nice 'pizza wine'. But I was quickly taken with its complex but pleasant fruit flavors and balanced smoothness. Shortly thereafter I went out to buy a few bottles for every day sipping.

I was initially taken aback by the label, a new approach to branding for this highly popular large volume producer - Chateau Ste Michelle, which in this case has given way to Ste Michelle Vineyards. Its a Columbia Valley "Distinctive Varietal Wine" designated as Cabernet Sauvignon "Cellared and Bottled by Chateau Ste Michelle in Patterson Washington. Notably, it is prominently cited as the "50th Anniversary Bottling", having been founded in 1967. 

Chateau Ste. Michelle actually own 3,500 acres in the Columbia Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA), located in central Washington state's dry, almost arid region due to it being separated from Seattle's rainy, marine climate by the Cascade Mountains. 

Chateau Ste. Michelle 50th Anniversary Special Bottling Cabernet Sauvignon Distinctive Varietal Blend 2015

While it is labeled as Cabernet Sauvignon, this is actually a rather sophisticated Bordeaux style blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 4% Syrah, 1% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. It is aged  for 14 months in American and French oak, 1/3 new. Its not one to buy for aging, but go get some for easy every day sipping - great for pizza and pasta or BBQ.

Amazingly, they offer this special anniversary bottling for well under $20. This is a tribute to their production and prowess. Binny's, the Chicagoland beverage superstore (now actually Illinois since they expaned downstate) actually has this on sale now for under $12, a remarkable value indeed!

This is dark garnet colored, medium bodied, complex with bright forward black currant and black berry fruits with notes of black cherry, tobacco leaf, modest oak on a moderate finish. A nice achievement considering the large production of this release.

RM 88 points.