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Monday, Mar. 14, 2011

Ste. Michelle doesn't rob Bargain Bob's wallet


Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington's flagship winery, is nearly as old as I am. That means I've had a lot of years to be able to taste wines from the Woodinville behemoth.

Subsequently, it has a lineup of wines that are more than a pip on Bargain Bob's radar.

These are wines that cost $15 and under, ranging from a jammy Syrah to a fruit-forward Riesling.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington, dating back to 1934, and the state's second-largest winery after Columbia Crest.

So it's only natural it would have some fine examples of bargain wines. The prices listed are those at state liquor stores and other retail outlets.

2009 Riesling, Columbia Valley, $6: This variety put Chateau Ste. Michelle on the world's wine map in a California tasting in mid-1970s.

2009 Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, $6: This is my personal Riesling favorite because of its wide food applications. Crisp, refreshing starting with peach and apricot aromas, then more tree fruit flavors and a clean finish.

2007 Syrah, Columbia Valley, $9: Co-fermenting with Viognier gives it a touch of citrus to go along with the dark berry jam flavors. Soft and ripe fruit makes this an easy-to-drink red.

2009 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $9: A soft style of Chardonnay with bright sweet citrus fruit character and subtle spice and oak nuances.

2009 Gewurztraminer, Columbia Valley, $6: Classic floral and spice characteristics. A touch of Muscat offers citrus notes and a deeper spice charm.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $9: Refreshing style offering fresh aromas and flavors of lemongrass, apple and melon.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley $12: Extremely berry driven with silky tannins, excellent structure and great food applications.

2007 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $12: Think black cherries on the tongue with leather and spice aromas.