2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery “We craft our Columbia Valley Riesling to be an inviting, refreshing, off-dry Riesling vintage after vintage. This Riesling consistently delivers classic Washington state Riesling character of juicy peach, apricot, ripe pear, melon, with subtle mineral notes. This is our “every day Riesling” that is a pleasure to drink and easy to match with a variety of foods.”

What I Think:

I saw this one when I was shopping to for the Rocking Horse the other day. Not sure what made me grab it. I have always thought that Riesling provided good bang for the buck so let’s chalk it up to that.

We opened this one to go with some chicken fajitas that were on the fruiter side thinking that it may be a nice pairing. Given that my dad was still in town with his wife and friends and they joined us for this meal my notes and impressions are again somewhat limited. I thought that this was a decent wine, on the nose you get some apple/pear hints. On the palate this hints come to life in a very dry fashion on top of a minerally backbone. This wine is true to the varietal character lacking that manufactured sweetness that I may have been secretly hoping for given the pairing. I think I was after a JW Morris Gewurztraminer like experience and this didn’t deliver. To sum it up, this is a decent wine certainly of the dry style. If I find myself searching for something of the sort I’ll likely be looking elsewhere.

Rating: Skip It

2003 Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery “Aromas of black cherry, blackberries, liqueur and hints of tobacco and smoke precede a rich, silky palate of cherry, chocolate and black fruits with a touch of toasty oak on the finish.”

What I Think:

This wine is made by one of the Washington behemoths; Chateau Ste. Michelle. It consists of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. This bottling use to be one I liked quite a bit when it was on the shelves say six months ago so I had been looking at the remaining bottle for some time. I figured I would save it for an evening when I needed to have a nice wine, a known commodity and last night turned out to be that night. Boy was I disappointed. Coming off a series of good wines over the last ten days this one tasted almost like, dare I say it, manufactured plonk! There was not one unique varietal character about this wine. You could drink the bottle with 4 people and at least two wouldn’t know it was Cab, I may be one of them. Don’t get me wrong this was still nice to drink and maybe worth buying again but it certainly didn’t meet the nostalgia I had been feeling after looking at this bottle for weeks. If it were still in the stores I may give it another shot as I don’t want the memories to end like this. Six months ago I was buying this wine regularly. Have my taste changed that much over that timeframe? Was this bottle slightly off? Unfortunately we will never know as it is long gone from TJ’s.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2005 Hogue Columbia Valley Washington State Chardonnay

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery “During the grape growing season, Eastern Washington boasts warm summer days followed by cool nights, ensuring that grapes ripen fully while retaining ample natural acidity. Our 2003 Chardonnay shows that classic balance. Aromas are of pear, citrus vanilla, cream, and hazelnut. The wine has complex Chardonnay character. Bright pear and cream flavors abound on the palate with a roundness acquired from the barrel fermented portion (31%). The finish is crisp. This would be a great accompaniment to broiled wild King salmon or fettuccini with a white clam sauce.”

What I Think:

Given my hate hate relationship with Chardonnay I am quick to look for those outside of the California area. This effort is slightly outside the norm. The nose doesn’t set it apart nor does the initial splash on the palate. But as the oak fades a racy citrus comes through that takes it down a different course. While not spectactular I could see a bottle of this sneaking in to my cart sometime in future. As a side note I am a huge fan of Hogue, especially some of their reds. Don’t hesitate to give any of their bottles a try as I have never be disappointed.

Rating: 12th Bottle