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The Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2021 is sourced from multiple vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley AVA, using both estate and contracted vineyards. Chateau Ste Michelle (founded in 1954) is the largest winery in Washington. Eight of the top ten best-selling labels of Washington wine are owned by them and almost 2/3rds of the grapes grown in the Columbia Valley go into a Chateau Ste Michelle wine.
Chateau Ste Michelle has gone thru several different ownerships over the years and is currently owned by a financial investment company. The Columbia Valley contains 12 other AVAs, is blocked from rainfall by the Cascade Mountains, and is dry enough to be rated as a desert.
The Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2021 had a warm growing season with cool nights. This is a young wine not intended to be aged, but the production techniques are slightly different from the typical young Sauvignon Blanc.
91% of the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks but 9% of the wine was fermented and aged in neutral oak barrels. A stainless steel tank is airtight and does not allow oxygen to reach the wine. An oak barrel allows a tiny amount of air to reach the wine and that interaction between the oxygen and the wine makes a difference you can taste.
The Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2021 was aged for 3 months “on less”, which means the dead yeast from fermentation is kept with the wine. The wine is stirred occasionally and the lees give the wine a nutty/salty sensation and can create a creamy texture if stirred enough. The alcohol content is a reasonable 12.5%.
The Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Tasting Notes
The color is a pale golden yellow. The nose is fresh and clean, but very different from New Zealand Sauv Blanc, apple, pear, lemon chiffon, vanilla cream, and dried pineapple. The Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2021 is lean, crisp, and long, with excellent acidity.
This Sauvignon Blanc tastes like peach, pear, green apple, lime, and light spice. The mid-palate shows apricot, that nutty/salty “on lees” thing, and mild grapefruit. This is a subtle Sauv Blanc not at all like the wild and wooly New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
- The Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2021 is a subtle, but welcome version of Sauvignon Blanc.
- There are plenty of fruit and citrus flavors but they are subdued and not flashy.
- The acidity is spot-on and ties the wine together.