My invitation to the Washington Wine Highway event this weekend at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery got lost in my in-box.
I spent the weekend cozying up to Chateau Ste. Michelle wines.
I reached for the eponymous Rieslings, along with bottles of the varietal bearing Hogue and Snoqualmie Vineyards labels, both of which are owned by the Woodinville winery, which is the largest Riesling producer in the world.
On sale for between $5.98 and $10.50, I bought some CSM bottles at Metropolitan Market, Safeway and my local convenience mart. The basic Riesling was a bit syrupy but toned down to drinkability after I cut it with some of the more acidic Hogue. CSM Columbia Valley Dry Riesling had a clean appeal and good acidity. Snoqualmie's organic "Naked" stood crisp.
Then I read the June edition of Food & Wine magazine, which has a story about Chateau Ste. Michelle, which it dubbed "America's greatest value winery."
As a California kid, I grew up valuing the affordability of Gallo products. I was tickled to read that Chateau Ste. Michelle's winemaker is a former Gallo man.
"I like to say I make wines that are aged on their way home from the grocery store," winemaker Bob Bertheau said.
I drank to that all weekend, with steak and brisket and cheese and asparagus. I'm a few glasses closer to being one with Riesling, which Food & Wine calls "a grape that most people still don't fully understand or appreciate."