Over at CGR we are quite passionate about Sauvignon Blanc and all it’s different incarnations. Chateau Ste.Michelle makes my second favorite Riesling I’ve ever tasted (I’d lived in German wine country for years so I know a thing or three about it) but I realized when I moved back to the USA that it’s all I remember having from their winery. I’d heard great things about the Chateau Ste.Michelle 2012 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from one of my local wine shops so I decided to give it a try. In 2013 this wine garnered a lot of attention when it received a 90 point rating from Wine Spectator.
The Chateau Ste.Michelle 2012 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc comes in at 13.5% alcohol. It’s a single vineyard fruit experience. The wine is not 100% Sauvignon Blanc but 95% topped with 5% of Sémillon, also from the same vineyard. The wine was partly fermented in neutral oak as well as steel tanks. The wine was also aged sur lie for 4 months to add complexity. Our bottle was in good shape when we opened it. We chilled the wine to about 45 degrees and used stemless white wine glasses for tasting. There was little aroma when opening the wine. The wine was a pale straw hue.
The Chateau Ste.Michelle 2012 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc had a rather large nose once poured. The nose is full of lemon, grapefruit, gooseberry, peach and minerals. The taste was almost identical to the nose with the exception of yeasty bread quality in the finish that seems very out of place in a Sauvignon Blanc. I found this quality off-putting because it really killed the freshness of the wine. The finish was of medium length and I found it too acidic. It easily sailed past lively or racy making it almost undrinkable on its own. I paired it with shrimp and it matched alright but the amount the of acid was honestly too much for my husband and I. I am not sure if the bottle had been stored improperly or perhaps a secondary fermentation was happening in the bottle. You could taste the glorious fruit up front but between the yeast character and the overwhelming acidity I was unable to finish the wine.
I am fairly certain our bottle of Chateau Ste.Michelle 2012 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc was compromised in one way or another. It’s really a shame because you could taste the quality of the fruit. I can easily see why it garnered such a high score and was put on the top 100 value wines for Wine Spectator. We will probably re-buy this wine from another retailer to test it again. I don’t even feel I should put a rating on this because of the state of the wine when we tried it. The wine averages between $15 and $20 and can be found easily at Safeway, Kroger or Fred Meyers, and BevMo.
Have you tried the Chateau Ste.Michelle 2012 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc? Did it live up to your expectations or it’s 90 point rating? Let us know in the comments below!