Boring Wines: Wines to Avoid

Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington state’s oldest winery.
Chateau Ste. Michelle sources grapes from 3500 acres.
Chateau Ste. Michelle  produces 2.5 million cases a year.
Chateau Ste. Michelle hired German weine consultant Dr. Ernst Loosen to make Riesling for them.
Chateau Ste. Michelle “invented” Riesling.
Chateau Ste. Michelle can be found in every single grocery store in the country (how special is that?)
Chateau Ste. Michelle can be found on some really uninspired wine lists in this city.
Chateau Ste. Michelle produces wines, be it their Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc,Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Tannat (just kidding), Gewurtztraminer, that all taste the same: flat and homogenized.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is owned by Altria (use to be Phillip Morris)
Altria owns…
A little bit of everything.
Including…
A shitload of tobacco and…
  • Chateau Ste Michelle
  • Columbia Crest (their reserve Cabernet was Wine Spectators #1 wine of the year last year)
  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (Napa Valleys FIRST first growth!)
  • Conn Creek
  • Red Diamond
  • Snoqualmie
  • Spring Valley
  • Villa Mt Eden
  • Erath
  • Col Solare
  • Northstar
  • Villa Antinori (An evil Tuscan empire dating back to the year 1385)
  • Tormaresca
  • Tignanello
  • Antica Napa Valley
  • Solaia
  • Santa Cristina
  • Haras di Pirque
  • La Bracessca
  • Montenisa
  • Hawk Crest
  • Fourteen Hands
  • Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte
  • Palmes d’Or (Instant luxury!)

Many people enjoy processed foods, or big-studio processed movies, or all-inclusive, processed vacations where you never leave the hotel’s grounds: just because people enjoy these things doesn’t mean they’re healthful, or artful, or inspiring or good. The same holds true for wine. A lot of people like the processed stuff, but this doesn’t mean it’s authentic. It doesn’t mean this wine is good.

You are allowed to drink differently.

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8 Responses to “Boring Wines: Wines to Avoid”

  1. stump Says:

    Your points are spot on… “Many people enjoy processed foods, or big-studio processed movies, or all-inclusive, processed vacations where you never leave the hotel’s grounds: just because people enjoy these things doesn’t mean they’re healthful, or artful, or inspiring or good.”

    I agree fully. However, why are you trashing this wine group? Tobacco? Very immature. I would think you should explain your position a little more. Did you like the Columbia Crest 2005 Cab? I don’t think you got your hands on it.

  2. Kathleen Says:

    nor anything from Stag’s Leap, or Erath.

    P.S. Philip Morris only has one “L”. And Altria only owns tobacco companies and Chateau Ste. Michelle. Not a little bit of everything.

  3. richmondwineculture Says:

    Thank you for reading and thanks for the comments Stump and Kathleen. There are many different wines to try in this world. I am not very interested in drinking another velvety, smooth wine that is an uninspired version of something that has been constructed a million times before. I am however interested in seeking out traditional wines from traditional wine growing regions that have character and individuality. Wines that reflect a place, a culture and are a good value. This post was a little mean, after all it is good that Altria is looking beyond tobacco to stay relevant and they do employ a lot of people here in our area allowing those a paycheck to buy
    good wine and good food in our lovely city. It would be much easier to poke fun at Constellation Brands.

  4. Stump Says:

    Hey, again I really understand your position. I love the tradition of the small and local operation. Whether it’s a small farm, winery or brewery. It means a lot to me. That is why I looked into the whole Ste. Michelle stuff after your post. Altria adopted the winery when they bought UST and felt it was the right thing to do to not mess with what was going on. Check this out…
    http://www.seattlepi.com/default/article/On-Wine-30-years-of-Chateau-Ste-Michelle-1213665.php#page-3

  5. Anon Says:

    “Many people enjoy processed foods, or big-studio processed movies, or all-inclusive, processed vacations where you never leave the hotel’s grounds: just because people enjoy these things doesn’t mean they’re healthful, or artful, or inspiring or good.”

    And by your same point, this is not indicative of something being bad either.

    And if you find Northstar’s approach to Merlot or Col Solare in general to be uninspired then you are misguided.

    I just cracked a 1997 Fay’s a few months ago and it was simply amazing.

    Lastly, your information is simply incorrect. Ch. Ste. Michelle, mass produced, grocery store, boring, and wholly unremarkable. Yes. Absolutely. But the wineries that are involved in a partnership with Ste. Michelle wine estates operate independently of Philip Morris, Altria, Ch. Ste. Michelle. And if you chastising these other wineries to be guilty by association rather than the merits of their wine then thats just silly. And if you are chastising them after you’ve actually tasted them then you have no business writing a column about wine if your think Cask 23 is a boring, uninspired wine w/o a sense of place. SLWC cab put American winemaking on the map and it still tastes delicious today.

  6. richmondwineculture Says:

    Cask 23= $200 or so. Give me 18 bottles of Marcillac instead. Will beat it up any day of the week.

  7. Anon Says:

    I never once spoke of value. My criticism was based solely on your evaluation that these wines lacked originality, place, substance etc… And SLWC cab is a much more reasonable price than CASK is and, as well, tastes delicious!

  8. Anon Says:

    And in regards to value, there are thousands of wineries around the world that produce great juice at a fraction of the price of a SLWC or a Col Solare. That much is obvious. But for you to lump some of the above wineries into the same category as the garbage St. Michelle produces is unfair just because they are in a supplier partnership with SMWE. And, you didnt even mention Spring Valley, which either indicates you are unaware of this SMWE represented Walla Walla family run winery or that means it completely contradicts your general premise and it was intentionally omitted. These guys not only are ambassadors of everything what is right in the world of wine today(small production, family run, sense of terroir) but their wine is AMAZING. And if you dont know them, please go try a bottle of Fredrick or Uriah and let me know what you think. Not entirely sure how text tastes.

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