Saturday, June 19, 2021

Venge Vineyards Brown Ranch Vineyard and St Michelle Columbia Valley Chardonnay

Venge Vineyards Brown Ranch Vineyard and Chateau St Michelle Columbia Valley Chardonnay

As part of a gala family reunion dinner, the ladies opted for white wine rather than the flight of Napa Valley Reds that we served with the beef tenderloin dinner. I pulled from the cell this Venge Brown Ranch Vineyard Napa Chardonnay. From Venge Vineyards, with its conspicuous "V" logo and branding, we have fun with this label serving it with our daughter-in-law Vivianna. 

 We also served a Chateau St Michelle Washington State Chardonnay. This is another brand and label we have fun serving with our two daughter-in-laws, Michelle. 

Venge Vineyards Brown Ranch Vineyard Los Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017

Readers of these pages know we've been fans of Venge wines for decades and have featured them many times including highlights of visits to the Venge Family estate in Rutherford during our Napa Wine Experience 2002, and visit to the Venge Vineyards, Rossini Ranch up near Calistoga. 

Of course, legendary winemaker Nils Venge is known for Napa Cabernet. As son Kirk has taken over the reigns of Venge Vineyards, the portfolio has expanded and now includes several Chardonnays from Sonoma County as well as this one from Los Carneros. This Venge offering is from the Brown Ranch Vineyard in the Napa Los Carneros AVA District off of Old Sonoma Road, down at the bottom of Napa Valley where the foothills of the Mayacamas Range reach down to the flatlands just above San Pablo Bay. The area is ideally suited for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the cool breezes wafting in from the bay.

We acquired several bottles of this label a while back and I liked it a lot, such that when we went back and bought more, we also acquired the follow on 2018 vintage release.  I wrote about this wine in an earlier blogpost at that time back in April 2019. 

This was golden straw colored, medium full bodied with big round mouthfeel, bright notes of green apple, tones of pear and citrus with subtle highlights of rich creamy caramel and light butterscotch, honeysuckle and floral, round acidity on the tangy finish.

RM 92 points.

 Chateau St Michelle Washington State Columbia Valley Chardonnay 2018

We also opened this Chateau St Michelle Chardonnay. Chateau St Michelle are one of the largest producers of white wine (Riesling) in the world. They are Washington State's oldest winery dating back to 1912, and have  been fundamental in the development of wine production in the State and the Columbia Valley. 

We visited their spectacular Chateau with its unique craftsman-style architecture and the 105 wooded acre estate complete with amphitheatre for summer concerts during our Seattle Wine and Dine - Washington State Wines Tasting in Woodinville, Woodinville Wine Experience in 2018. 

Chateau St Michelle has an extensive, broad portfolio of wines from their Columbia Valley regional wines to appellation specific, single vineyard designated specific, premium, ultra premium and a broad selection of specialty bottlings. Celebrating more than 50 years of winemaking. Since then, we have combined Old World winemaking 

Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the few premium wineries in the world with two state-of-the-art wineries, one for red and one for white. The whites are made at the Chateau in Woodinville, WA, while the reds are made at the Canoe Ridge Estate winery in Eastern Washington.

This Chardonnay is from their Columbia Valley Collection of entry level mass produced brand of varietal wines sourced from the Columbia Valley where Chateau Ste. Michelle owns 3,500 acres in the Columbia Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA). The distinctive wine region is separated from Seattle's rainy, marine climate by the Cascade Mountains that collect the rain. The resulting terroir of the arid dry valley basin in the center of the state has limited annual rainfall of but 6-8 inches. Summer daytime temperatures hover in the mid-80's under sunny skies; cool nighttime temperatures in the fall protect the grapes' natural acidity and provide perfect conditions for ripening. The resulting grapes can be managed by vineyard managers through irrigation to develop intense aromas and flavors and distinctive character Washington state wines. 

At a fraction of the price of the Venge Chardonnay above, this provides a high QPR, quality price ratio such that we keep this on hand for everyday easy drinking and casual sipping. 

Linda likes this wine a lot and often prefers it to the more complex, fuller bodied, heavier Venge character and tasting profile. 

I first wrote about this release back last winter when I wrote about its "Good QPR in this easy drinking casual sipper." I gave it 87 points.



Beautiful! Aromas of pear, golden apple and pineapple along with a hint of honey and oaky spice. Full bodied and smooth on the palate with vibrant ripe fruit, and more warm oak and spice notes. Enjoy with scallops or other rich seafood dishes.

From the Columbia Valley, Washington wine region, Chateau Ste. Michelle 2018 Chardonnay is fantastic value under $20. Both the Chateau Ste Michelle itself, and vineyards, date back to 1912 Wine grapes for this 100% Chard were sourced from select sites throughout the Valley, with 6 months sur-lie ageing in a mix a of both French & American oak barrels. Buttery on the nose with fresh pear, vanilla and toasty toffee aromas, full-bodied and smooth on the palate with ripe orchard and tropical fruit with buttery caramel on the finish. Enjoy with a roasted chicken. - Community Wine Reviews