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Chateau Ste. Michelle: Ethos Reserve and Limited Release

June 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Wine

Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington State’s founding winery with its roots dating back to the repeal of Prohibition. In 1976, Ste. Michelle built a French-style chateau in Woodinville, just northeast of Seattle. While all of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s vineyards are located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, all of their white wines are made in Woodinville. Their red wines are made at Canoe Ridge Estate in eastern Washington.

No matter where you live in the United States, you are probably familiar with the wines of Chateau Ste. Michelle, particularly their Columbia Valley line. While those wines enjoy national distribution, Chateau Ste. Michelle also produces a number of other reserve and limited release wines that are not as widely available.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste several wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Ethos Reserve and Limited Release series in a blind samples tasting.

The word Ethos means “character” in Greek, the “distinctive spirit” of a specific culture, movement, or philosophy. Head winemaker Bob Bertheau works to impart that distinctive spirit in the limited production Ethos Reserve wines which aim to showcase the best of the vintage.

The Limited Release wines allow the winemaking team to experiment a bit. These small lots are initially available exclusively to members of their wine club, the Vintage Reserve Club. After 30 days, these limited releases are offered to the public at the Chateau Ste. Michelle wine shop in Woodinville and online.

2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Syrah. Dark purplish red. Very aromatic with leather, earth, and a touch of creosote on the nose. Gorgeous black fruit and licorice come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $38

2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Stone Tree Vineyard Syrah (Stone Tree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): 100% Syrah. Dark purple in color. Nice nose with oak, black fruit, and black pepper aromas. Blackberry, black cherry, black pepper, and spice come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high, dry tannins. Well-balanced with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $36

2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Malbec (Wahluke Slope, Washington): 87% Malbec and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, inky purple. Nice black fruit and a touch of earth on the nose. Fruit-forward with black cherry, earth, and spice on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity, medium tannins, and a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25

2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Viognier (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Viognier. Pale, greenish straw yellow. Very aromatic with floral and white peach aromas and flavors. Light to medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $15

2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Limited Release Mourvedre (Columbia Valley, Washington): 93% Mourvedre and 7% Syrah. Dark red in color. Aromatic with smoked meat and barnyard notes on both the nose and palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins, and a medium to long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25

Chateau Ste. Michelle: Ethos Reserve and Limited Release was originally posted on Wine Peeps. Wine Peeps - Your link to great QPR wines from Washington State and beyond.

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