I have to admit that I am a bit of a wine snob (as if this blog weren’t proof enough!). I go for “artisanal” or quirky wines, or wines from obscure French domaines and Spanish bodegas. When it comes to huge wine conglomerates like Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi, etc., etc., I usually turn up my nose in disdain.
But as Mark Oldman points out in his entertaining, easily-accessible, and informative book Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine: 108 Ingenious Shortcuts to Navigate the World of Wine with Confidence and Style (link to Amazon here!), there are many low-cost, high-value wines out there from winemakers I felt were “too big” or “too successful”.
Call it the Green Day syndrome of wine.
At any rate, one of the producers he mentioned numerous times as consistently satisfying was Chateau Ste. Michelle. Never mind that this winery is in Washington state and has a name like a bad French domaine. It is Washington’s oldest “and most acclaimed” winery, and its labels can be seen in supermarket aisles everywhere:
For “hip” young wine drinkers like me, this ubiquity was a death knell.