Way back in May, I had the opportunity to enjoy a tour and tasting at Chateau Ste. Michelle while vacationing in the Seattle area. This is a winery that produces literally dozens of wines from several vineyards, and is one of the best large scale producers in America. While they produce fantastic cool climate examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, one of the most uniquely expressive varietals that they consistently excel in is Riesling. This is somewhat of a niche market for the U.S.A., as California and Oregon lack the proper climate to make truly elegant Rieslings. August has been a humid mess in Chicago for me, and when I’m looking for a crisp, refreshing white wine with character, it is very hard to top a solid Riesling. I especially enjoy Rieslings sitting outside in the summer while eating Thai food, spicy sushi rolls or any light bodied meat or fish with a bit of a kick. Chateau Ste. Michelle has just released its 2009 entry level Riesling, and it is incredibly delicious considering the price and the wide availability. In fact, if you are in the Chicago area, Binny’s is offering this wine at the unthinkable price of $5.99 per bottle until August 17th. If you’re anywhere else, the $10 retail price is still a bargain- and the wine has plenty of structure to be drinkable for many successive summers.

CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE RIESLING COLUMBIA VALLEY 2009, 88 Points, $10, 650,000 cases produced- Bright, juicy aromas of pear, white peach and vanilla on the nose. Very vibrant and fruit-driven, with lively peach and pear notes mingling above subtle vanilla bean and floral citrus notes. Fruit lingers with racy acidity and a slight hint of stony mineral and petrol as the finish keeps pumping. Refreshing.

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