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The wines of Chateau Ste Michelle
Stimson Lane, 1 Stimson Lane, PO Box 976, Woodinville, Washington 98072
Tel: 001 425 488 1133 Fax: 001 425 415 3657
UK importer: Caxton Wines

Founded in 1967, this well known winery is a solid performer. I was a bit underwhelmed by the less expensive wines, but the premium reds are certainly impressive. Top wine Col Solare, made in partnership with Antinori of Tuscany, is a stunner -- shame about the 50+ price tag! The Eroica Riesling, the result of a well publicised collaboration with German superstar Ernie Loosen, was disappointing. Owned by the giant Stimson Lane holdings, a subsidiary of US Tobacco.

1999 Eroica Riesling
Made in collaboration with Ernie Loosen of the Mosel, the fresh, spicy nose leads to a rather cloying, medium-sweet palate with some citrus character. I'm not convinced by this wine. Good/very good

1999 Johannesburg Riesling
Sweet fruity nose, with boiled sweets character (again -- it seems to be a common feature of many Washington state whites). The palate is rich, spicy and citrus-laced with high acidity and a sweet finish. Good/very good

1999 Sauvignon Blanc
Barrel fermented and wood-aged for 5 months. This is a useful, well made wine. Bright spicy nose leads to a rich spicy palate. Underneath the oak there is some nice Sauvignon character. Very good

1998 Semillon
Fruity fresh nose leads to a crisp, fruity palate. Nice balance, but this is made in a commercial style and lacks any real character. Good/very good

1999 Chardonnay
100% barrel fermented in new French oak. This is a nice modern-styled Chardonnay showing toasty oak, ripe fruit and good balance. A bit technological and anonymous for the price (10-15). Very good

1998 Canoe Ridge Chardonnay 1998
Deep-coloured, this has lively fruit and toasty/nutty new oak from barrel fermentation. Very good

1998 Merlot
Lively red/purple colour. Sweet spicy edge to the youthful fruit. Good density and a modern style. Very good

1998 Canoe Ridge Merlot
Nice pungent edge to the bold nose, together with sophisticated oaking. Dense and attractive palate showing herby, spicy fruit. Nice stuff. Very good+

1998 Cabernet Sauvignon
Leafy blackcurrant fruit leaps out of the glass, and the palate is tannic and full, with perhaps a touch of greenness. Very good

1997 Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
Nice spicy herby nose. Good complexity and balance on the palate wit careful oaking and dense, spicy fruit. Very good+

1997 Col Solare
A joint venture with Tuscan firm Antinori, this is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 3% Syrah. It shows a ripe, sophisticated, exotic nose with smoky and herby notes. The palate is full and rich, with good balance between the dense fruit and new oak. An 'international'-style wine, and probably ageworthy. Very good/excellent

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