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Sunday, 20 January 2019 18:35

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

 Chateau Ste Michelle

Columbia Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $15

“Predictability is a word that can be used as a pejorative. But predictability can be a good thing, too, a synonym for reliability. That was the quality Taste Washington Travel thought of when reviewing this wine.

“This 2015 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is everything you could want from a Cabernet priced under $20. Chateau Ste Michelle, easily the most significant wine operation in the state of Washington, produces several bottlings of Cabernet Sauvignon. This one (the Columbia Valley label) could be considered their “basic” version and carries a suggested retail price of $15. Other Cabernets from Ste Michelle range from $20 up to $55. The company also produces Cabernet-based wines under other identities that are priced as high as $125 (the 2015 Impetus Red Wine).

“But back to the Columbia Valley bottling. It’s a wine with broad national availability. The composition can change a bit each year, but the quality is predictable and taste remains consistent. The 2015 vintage is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 4% Syrah. Minor constituents include 1% each of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.

“The Columbia Valley is a vast American Viticultural Area (AVA), which covers most of Washington’s wine country and even a bit of Oregon’s. Other AVAs can appear on a Washington wine label, some of them smaller, sub-regions within the Columbia Valley appellation. While smaller and more specific delineations, these don’t necessarily bespeak a higher quality product. Other labels can reference vineyards owned or controlled by a winery. Chateau Ste Michelle produces Cabernet Sauvignon with separate labels specifying such properties as Cold Creek, Canoe Ridge and Indian Wells. Each of these vineyards produces grapes with different enough taste characteristics to warrant separate identities and are priced from $20 to $40. However, the winery indicates that these same vineyards are supplying grapes for the more generally-defined $15 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that we acknowledge this week.

“This 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon spent 14 months aging in American and French oak barrels. We found it to show a lot of rich black fruit characteristics and without an excess presence of tannin. The taste evokes blackberries, black cherries and Santa Rosa plums with a little dark chocolate in the background. Lots of fruit and lots of structure, but easy drinking now.”

Food Affinity:  “You could pour this wine with almost any dish you’d want to pair with a red wine. We enjoyed it with a Caesar salad and a medium-rare rib-eye from Piedmontese beef. Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics.”


Editor’s note: At this time Chateau Ste Michelle is distributing their 2016 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. You will currently find both the 2015 and 2016 vintages in the marketplace. Wines reviewed at TASTE Publications are encountered by our staff in several ways. They can be discovered at trade tastings or visits to wineries. They may also be purchased by staff members for their own tables or be those sent by wineries for possible review. This is an editorial feature, not advertising, and appearance cannot be secured by payment. More information can be had by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Last modified on Thursday, 21 February 2019 14:37


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