Although I almost exclusively enjoy big, bold red cabs as my wine ofCsm_cv_riesling_2006 choice (what goes better with a grilled steak?), the hot summer months often means a cold, crisp white is a better choice.

Even though Napa produces some of the best in the world, I’m not a Chardonnay fan. And I find most Sauvignon Blancs too fruity. Rieslings, however, seem to be just right. I enjoy them served nice and cool, about 55F. And I find it mandatory once opened to keep in a wine chiller with ample water and ice.

Trader Joe’s is a great spot to wine shop. They carry many interesting brands. Often you can find diamonds in the rough, like this 2007 Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling for $5.99. A fantastic bargain. If you check the shelves of Safeway and Trader Joe’s you’ll discover Chateau Ste. Michelle runs out of stock faster than other brands.

Located in Washington state, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the largest producer of Riesling in the US.

This Riesling, one of 6 Riesling varietals they produce, is crisp and sparkles with life.

Surprisingly it’s perhaps a tad sweet, which for me would normally be a huge strike against. In this case though it works. I often pair it with a spicy meal. Loni’s yellow curry is a match made in heaven. Spicy chicken and Pad Thai, followed by a crisp mouthful of this Riesling with its ever so slight sweetness and clean follow through. Perfect!

This is by no means the best Riesling out there. But for the price, I think it can’t be beat (and I’m still trying!). I recently picked up a dry version (brown bottle with gold label instead of green) and will be curious to see how it stacks up.

In this world of ever increasing pricing & inflation and the emergence of “cult” wines with long wait lists, not to mention the explosion in price of 2004 Napa cabs, it’s nice to know there are still decent wine bargains out there.


2007 Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling
Chateau Ste Michelle, Washington
Riesling, Alc. 12%
$5.99 (try Trader Joe’s)

Clint says: This is the Diet Coke of white wines. Clean, refreshing and best drank cold, especially the first mouthful.

Rating: 89 out of 100 (recommended)

Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear