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Five Wines Under $15 - The Resurrection

Thursday, July 31, 2014







In a resurrection of the Five Wines Under $15 column, we make up for lost time with a jumbo-sized edition looking at wines from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (we'll do the same with other wineries next month).

SMWE is the umbrella company for a number of wineries and brands including Chateau Ste. MichelleColumbia Crest14 Hands, and Snoqualmie among many others. Across the portfolio, numerous wines fall into the $15 and under category, with many punching above their weight class and providing great value.

Of note, some of the wines below mark the transition of Two Vines from a Columbia Crest label (such as the 2012 Columbia Crest Two Vines Chardonnay) to its own winery (such as the 2012 Two Vines Merlot-Cabernet). This includes, as you would expect, a subtle label change as indicated by the image above. In another change, Two Vines will now also have offerings from California, including a Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

14 Hands Riesling Washington State 2012 $10
(Good) A moderately aromatic wine with dried apricot and other stone fruit. The palate is medium sweet with abundant stone fruit flavors. 11.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Recommended

Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2012 $14
(Good) A lightly aromatic wine with notes of coffee, cherry, herbs, and barrel tones. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied with cherry and coffee flavors. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 4% Syrah, 2% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, and 2% Mourvedre. Aged 14 months in American and French oak (32% new). 13.5% alcohol. 305,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling Columbia Valley 2013 $10
(Good) An aromatic wine redolent with ripe peaches and nectarine. The palate drinks dry with abundant stone fruit flavors, narrowing a bit toward the finish. 100% Riesling. 12.5% alcohol. 0.72g/100 ml Residual Sugar. 0.66 g/100 ml Total Acidity. 100,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Recommended

Chateau Ste Michelle Harvest Select Sweet Riesling Columbia Valley 2013 $10
(Good) Lightly aromatic with notes of pear and apricot. The palate is sweet with abundant apricot flavors. 10.5% alcohol. 4.30g/100 ml Residual Sugar. 0.67 g/100 ml Total Acidity. Sample provided by winery. Recommended.

Chateau Ste Michelle Pinot Gris Columbia Valley 2013 $11
(Good) A moderately aromatic wine with notes of melon, apple, and light floral notes. The palate is medium bodied and brings an assortment of tropical fruit – star fruit and papaya – and pear flavors with a creamy, lingering finish. 100% Pinot Gris. 13.5% alcohol. 29,450 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Recommended

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot Columbia Valley 2012 $12
(Good) Moderately aromatic with notes of milk chocolate, smoke, coffee, and blueberry. The palate is medium bodied, soft in feel with abundant chocolate and berry flavors. 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 14 months in oak (33% new). 13.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Recommended

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Pinot Gris Washington State 2012 $12
 (Good) A lightly aromatic wine with apple and melon. The palate is medium bodied, losing a little rhythm in the middle before coming back together. 100% Pinot Gris. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 13.0% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling Columbia Valley 2013 $10
(Good) A lightly aromatic wine with notes of stone fruit, red apple, and mineral. The palate is off dry with peach flavors. 12.0% alcohol. 2.01g/100 ml Residual Sugar. 0.69 g/100 ml Total Acidity. 716,700 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2013 $11
 (Good) A moderately aromatic and appealing wine with notes of kiwi and citrus. The palate is medium bodied with a tart zing of acidity. The concentration isn’t all there but it still provides a lot of enjoyment for the price. 13.0% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Recommended

14 Hands Moscato Columbia Valley 2013 $10
(Decent/Good) A fairly aromatic wine with notes of lychee and spice. The palate is lightly spritzy and sweet with honeyed fruit flavors. An enjoyable quaffer or perfect as an aperitif. 10.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

14 Hands Chardonnay Washington State 2012 $10
(Decent/Good) A lightly aromatic but appealing wine with notes of squash and stone fruit. The palate is medium bodied with a textured, rich feel. Long on value. 13.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Recommended

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2012 $12
(Decent/Good) An oak-forward wine with notes of vanilla, freshly hewn wood, and butterscotch. The palate is medium plus bodied with abundant vanilla flavors. Adheres to a style but the oak gets far out front and seems distracting, taking over the wine. Aged in new and one to three year old American and French oak with 27% also aged in stainless steel. 13.5% alcohol. 160,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Columbia Crest Two Vines Chardonnay Washington State 2011 $8
(Decent/Good) A moderately aromatic wine with buttery spices and stone fruit. The palate is medium bodied, pulling up a bit short on the finish but still providing good value. Aged in stainless steel (60%) with the rest in oak with malolactic fermentation. 13.0% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

14 Hands Pinot Grigio Washington State 2013 $10
(Decent) A lightly aromatic wine with notes of apple and pear. The palate is dry, medium bodied, straight forward and easy drinking with abundant red apple flavors and a clipped finish. 13.0% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

14 Hands Riesling Washington State 2013 $10
(Decent) Very lightly aromatic with notes of pear and ripe red apple. The palate is medium sweet with stone fruit flavors and a lightly spritzy feel. Straightforward drinking enjoyment. 100% Riesling. 11.5% alcohol. 3.05 g/100 ml Residual Sugar. Sample provided by winery.

Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2012 $8
(Decent)Very lightly aromatic with notes of pear, citrus, and kiwi. The palate is medium bodied with tart, watery fruit flavors. On the low side of this section of the scale. 13.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Two Vines Merlot-Cabernet Columbia Valley 2012 $8
(Decent) Light in color, it’s moderately aromatic with notes of coffee, herbs, chocolate, and cherry. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied, soft in feel and goes down easy with a touch of sugar sweetening the finish. Provides a lot of bang for the buck. 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

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