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Drink This, Not That –Snoqualmie Wine

With the nebulous term “value” being bandied about these days like a badge of honor, I thought it might be interesting to look at two “value” wines from the same winery.

Of course, “value” is a term that means 100 different things to 100 different people.

Value, to me, constitutes a wine that is (generally) under $15 that offers nice drinkability, but also a level of craftsmanship that is quality indicator denoting it as a wine that with some complexity and interest.

One-note fruit wines with a layer missing in the tasting profile, need not apply. 

Sadly, over the course of the last two to three years, most domestic wineries abandoned the $12 - $15 category to move upstream, only to wish they could beat a hasty retreat now.  The wine aisle is rife with $17.99 US-based wines that once occupied the $13.99 price slot. 

Imports from South America seem to dominate this vacuum, even dipping down to the $9 range with some mildly interesting “value” wines.

Other rippling trends we continue to see is the West Coast butter-bomb backlash in Chardonnay with the the oaked vs. stainless steel trend seeing some nice growth along the lines of stainless. 

And, of course, organic, sustainable, green and the like continue to see strong consumer interest, even if nobody really knows what it all means; sustainable means what exactly?

These burbling, bubbling trends makes Snoqualmie from Washington even more interesting – besides the fact that I have always liked the name Snoqualmie, which seems to me to be like Ketchikan, AK – a name vaguely exotic and interesting even if the towns themselves aren’t as interesting as their names. 

Snoqualmie offer wines in national distribution, frequently in grocery and liquor stores, at the sub - $15 price point, and have an oaked and an unoaked (organic) chardonnay.  They have got their bases covered.  And, generally speaking, the popular wine critical press have marked various Snoqualmie varietals as good values over the last couple of years.

However, in reviewing their oaked and unoaked Chardonnay, color me surprised when the oaked Chardonnay came out as the better wine to my palate.  And, if you consider that national distribution means a movement to a “house style” you can consider this review fairly consistent despite year-to-year growing differences.

It is not often that predominate notes of “pineapple upside down cake” will interest many wine folks, but their oaked Chardonnay is a tasty treat, particularly compared against their unoaked organic Chard which is more expensive and not as good.

If given a choice between the Snoqaulmie Oaked Chardonnay versus their organic unoaked (naked) offering I would say, “Drink This (Oaked), Not That (Naked).” 

My Tasting Notes can be found below:

2007 Snoqualmie Naked Chardonnay

2006 Snoqualmie Chardonnay


Posted in, Good Grape Wine Reviews. Permalink | Comments (1) |


On 01/03, mmo wrote:

So hard to tell what to look for when choosing, thx


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