Tuesday the 1st of August 2017 La Cave Wines and the Lodhi Hotel, New Delhi hosted a Masterclass presented by Mr. David Andrews, Wine Ambassador for Chateau Ste Michelle wine estates.
For the uninitiated, Chateau Ste Michelle is Washington State's (and not Washington DC) oldest winery with roots that go back to the end of the prohibition era in the United States.
On this occasion, 8 wines were presented from the Ste Michelle portfolio. These included:-
1. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Artemis” (Cabernet Sauvignon)
2. Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Single Vineyard selection (Merlot)
3. Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley (Syrah)
4. Erath Oregon (Pinot Noir)
5. Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley (Cabernet Sauvignon)
6. Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley (Riesling)
7. Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Single Vineyard (Chardonnay)
8. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (Chardonnay)
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Artemis” (Cabernet Sauvignon):
This is a red wine that is made of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon. Named after the goddess of the hunt, this wine is well balanced with just right acidity on the palate.On the nose it has notes of vanilla (indicating oak), some leather, tobacco, and plenty of cassis. Try pairing with heavy red meats, maybe even duck.
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Single Vineyard selection (Merlot)
This was a 2014 Merlot, and the tints confirmed that it was a wine that showed plenty of youth. This is another wine made with grapes sourced from a single vineyard. It is a medium bodied red wine with a generous alcohol content and very smooth tannins. The suggested pairing for this wine is chicken vindaloo.
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley (Syrah)
This Columbia valley Syrah is made from 98% Syrah grapes, and 2% Viognier. The blend is an interesting one because Syrah- as we all know is a red wine grape, but the Viognier is a white wine grape known for producing very floral wines. The net result is that this is a red wine with firm tannins and the characteristic pepper on the palate. However, on the nose, it has juniper berries, and there are some very delicate floral notes as well.
Erath Oregon (Pinot Noir)
The Erath Pinot Noir has got to be among the palest Pinot Noirs I have seen in a while. It has a mouth watering attack with much acidity on the palate. The evolution was balanced and had very, very subtle tannins. There is some ink on the nose as well as the palate. Once the wine opened up a bit, it displayed notes of light red cherry, vanilla (oak). This wine must be allowed to breathe at least 15 minutes before it is ready to serve. It will go well with light meats and maybe even spicy vegetarian food.
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Of all the wines tasted at the tasting, this wine had one of the longest end palates- approx 7-8 minutes. On the nose it had plenty of jammy black fruit, and the tannins coated the palate nicely. This wine would pair well with heavy meats or spicy dishes nicely (mutton rogan josh any one?)
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley (Riesling)
This was a white wine that had almost petrol like aromas (petrol aromas are a very important sign of excellence in a Riesling!) and some tropical fruit. It had an extremely pale yellow colour, and the tints indicated the wine's youth. Another wine with a long finish, this wine had a smooth attack, a gentle evolution with a good mix of acidity of sweetness, and 7 minute long finish. It had a good deal of residual sugar on the palate that was balanced by the acidity of the wine. Try by itself as an aperitif, or with a green salad consisting of Mâche, Parmesan cheese, and a light mayonnaise dressing.
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Single Vineyard (Chardonnay)
Without a doubt, the star of the show for me was this wine- the Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Single vineyard Chardonnay.
The first nose had aromas of flint. The second nose had these aromas of flint intensified with a bit of melon and maybe some peach. The palate confirmed these aromas, and in addition, there was plenty of minerality on the palate, another sign of a good wine. I would recommend opening this wine 10-15 minutes before serving so that it’s nose may open up better. This wine has been aged in French oak barrels with at least some of it being new oak. There is a softness to the wine, which could only come from partial malolactic fermentation.
This is a very dry wine, and for novice wine drinkers the minerality might seem strange, but these are the markers of a good wine.
Recommend strongly with fish or prawns in a butter or cream sauce, or with chicken with capers in a mustard cream sauce.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (Chardonnay)
This wine has all the hallmarks of a well made Chardonnay, however of the two presented, I would recommend the former. If you are not a fan of flint aromas and mineral wines, this is the Chardonnay to buy. It has the typical fatty texture of a Chardonnay. The palate is relatively less complex and more straight forward than the single vineyard chardonnay. Recommend pairing this with a Salad Nicoise.
To conclude, in terms of my tastes, the wines that I was impressed by at this tasting were the Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Single Vineyard Chardonnay in the whites, and the Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Syrah in the reds.
All wines are available in New Delhi at La Cave, Select City Walk.