Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 2006 Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon placed #38 on Wine Spectator’s list of the “Top 100” wines of 2009. The magazine reviewed 17,000 wines during the past 12 months and selected “the most exciting” for their Top 100. It was one of nine Washington state wines to make this year's list. This marks the 15th Chateau Ste. Michelle Top 100 wine in the last 15 years and the third Canoe Ridge Estate wine to make the prestigious list.
“This recognition is a great combination of a vineyard coming into full maturity and a winemaking team dedicated to expressing the best of what Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon can be,” says Chateau Ste. Michelle head winemaker Bob Bertheau. “Our vineyard manager Mimi Nye with winemaker Joshua Maloney and our red winemaking team have really found a great rhythm for growing and making wines from our Canoe Ridge Estate property. We are honored and excited to be in the Top 100 wines of the world, knowing it is only going to get better.”
Planted in 1991, the Canoe Ridge Estate vineyard lies on a steep south-facing, wind-swept slope on the north bank of the Columbia River near Paterson, Washington in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The vineyard’s proximity to the river protects it from temperature extremes, allowing even ripening and excellent color development in the grapes. Strong winds reduce canopy size and density and contribute to the elegant character in the wines. The vineyard recently underwent an expansion and is planted to 561 acres of Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah and Grenache.
Bertheau refers to the site as “Europe on the Columbia,” producing wines with bright fruit and elegant dusty tannins and beautiful concentration.
“The vines at the site turned 15 years old in 2006,” explains Bertheau. “An important achievement, considering that in the Bordeaux region of France most winemakers will not consider using vines less than 15 years of age for their primary blends. While Canoe Ridge Estate grapes have always been impressive, they have hit a new level of character and concentration.”
Vineyard manager Mimi Nye planted the site in 1991. She lives at the site and passionately refers to the vines as “her babies.”
“Our Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot and Chardonnay had previously made the Top 100 list, so we were hoping that our Cabernet Sauvignon would be next,” says Nye. “I am happy to see all my "kids" doing well. It goes to show how versatile this vineyard is. It’s a beautiful place that produces beautiful wine.”
This honor adds to the list of accolades Canoe Ridge Estate wines have enjoyed over the years. Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 2006 Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay won “Best American Chardonnay” in the Decanter Magazine 2008 World Wine Awards. The 2004 Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay and the 1999 Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot were also named to previous Wine Spectator Top 100 lists.
Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington state and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek. Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys winemaking partnerships with two of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen.
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