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“Recommended Pairing ” Seattle Weekly - February 17, 2012
A Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay made butterfish melt in my mouth, the wine's citrus character shining bright as the February sun on the wicked surf.
87 points Wine Enthusiast - December 15, 2011
This well-crafted Chardonnay opens sharp and spicy, with light buy juicy fruit. Flavors of clean apple and pear run into hints of peach, then resolve with a creamy finish.
“Wine of the Week” Press Democrat - November 9, 2011
Chardonnay is like a blank canvas ready to be painted. That’s according to Bob Bertheau, the winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner — Chateau Ste. Michelle, 2010 Columbia Valley Chardonnay. Other wines in our lineup outscored this chardonnay, but the Chateau Ste. Michelle edged them out for wine-of-the-week status because it’s a solid wine at a great price. At $13, it’s a steal. “Chardonnay is truly a ‘winemakers wine,’ as you really create the style for the wine based on techniques and style decisions just as much as the fruit quality itself,” Bertheau said. “Chardonnay doesn’t have as much intrinsic varietal character as some of my other whites, like riesling and sauvignon blanc.” What Bertheau finds most captivating about winemaking is that it’s a complex subject. “I find it amazing that the more you learn about wine and winemaking, the more you realize how little you really do know,” he said. “Each variety, vineyard and vintage can totally show you something different and unique. There is no substitute for experience with your fruit, but even that can challenge you some years.” After earning a master’s degree in Enology from UC Davis, Bertheau worked for 16 years at a range of Sonoma County wineries, including Chalk Hill, Hanzell Vineyards and Gallo of Sonoma. He’s now senior director of winemaking at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Wash. Bertheau said harvest is his favorite time of year, and what motivates him to work long hours is that each vintage has its own personality.
“Wine Pairing ” Press Democrat - November 9, 2011
Zesty chardonnay works with season Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 vintage offers subtle smoky, oak flavor It's always a good idea to have a few value wines either on hand or readily available at a nearby market. Our Wine of the Week, Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Columbia Valley Chardonnay ($13), is just such a wine, ideal if your menu or guests demand chardonnay. The wine is widely available, frequently on sale and has that big soft mouthfeel that fans of the varietal enjoy. You'll notice plenty of apple flavors weaving through the wine, especially Granny Smith, custard apple and very ripe Gravensteins. Combined with the wine's sweet spice and bright citrus flavors, you'll be thinking of baked apples kissed by lemon zest in no time. There is a hint of ripe Bartlett pear, too, and little fresh lychee. Underneath these fruit flavors is a hint of smoke, suggestive of oak and buttery toast. The wine will complement foods with a hint of natural sweetness -- corn, say, and scallops -- and will be flattered by smoke as long as the smoke does not carry any heat with it. For example, I would not pair it with chipotles but I would serve it alongside scamorza affumicate, a smoked cow's-milk cheese from Italy, or smoked mozzarella. Use one of these smoked cheeses in a winter squash risotto and you'll have a perfect marriage of flavors. Almost any winter squash will go quite well with this wine; a pumpkin and coconut milk curry is a beautiful example of why. You can also enjoy this chardonnay with shrimp, crab, mussels, pork tenderloin and creamy polenta. My favorite pairing may be calzone filled with winter squash and scamorza, a recipe that is too long for this column.
Austin Chronicle - July 22, 2011
...also exemplary, avoiding the dreaded over-oaked butter bomb syndrome. It has more body than its French rivals but still seems to make a perfect compromise between American oomph and French elegance.