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2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay

January 22, 2015 - Norman Bentley

I thought I would provide my readers with an insight into the Chardonnay favorites list of my wife, the "Chardonnay Queen". First, her favorite winery for Chardonnay is Rodney Strong, with some prejudice, since she met the King of Sonoma County Chardonnay, himself, back in the late eighties. She prefers the Russian River Reserve, but enjoys most of the other Rodney Strong labels as well, particularly the Chalk Hill. However, her favorite "every day" Chardonnay is not even from Sonoma County, but instead the state of Washington. She, and I both have been raving about the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Chardonnay for years. It is clearly number one for us in the ten dollar category for consistency over the years, and has become the yardstick to measure other Chardonnays in that price range.

I last wrote about the Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay a few years back when describing the 2010 vintage, which I had scored a 90. Recently, I read a review of the 2012 vintage by the Wine Spectator, which had given it a score of 89. Since we have enjoyed several bottles of that vintage during the past year, I thought I would voice my opinion, since I would score it a 90.

I would say the style is a little French and a little California, being neither too austere, nor too fruity. It is full bodied and flavorful, without a sense of over powering the taste buds, but quite satisfying with a clean, and yet lingering finish. The basic Chardonnay flavors of apple and pear are present in abundance with added traces of citrus and tropical fruit. There is a touch of oak, and a bit of buttery mouth-feel to put you in quest of another sip.

Like most of the previous vintages, the 2012 is a great "back porch sipper", and also makes an excellent companion for a vast variety of table fare. For a treat for friends, invite several over and open a few bottles of the Chateatu Ste. Michelle, and serve with slices of apple and pear and some soft cheeses such as Brie or Camembert. You will love it, and so will all of your guests! That is, if you enjoy Chardonnay as much as the "Chardonnay Queen".

score: 90

price: $9 - $12


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