Sipping with Grace: Chateau Ste. Michelle 2021 Riesling with lemon cake

A drink and pairing for those with a hankering for something sweet



This is Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling and the lemon Riesling cake I made with it.

JARED GRACE, Evergreen columnist

Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling has been called revolutionary in the past, and for good reason.

Chateau Ste. Michelle was the first winery to occupy the state of Washington, which has now become only second to California in premier wine production. In terms of Rieslings, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling was the first aged Riesling in America and made it onto the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list in the first five years of its production.

To this day, Chateau Ste. Michelle is still one of the leaders in Riesling production. This winery never fails to impress, so I had to give its wine a pairing.

Immediately, this wine hits your tongue with an intriguing mix of peach, pear, green apple and citrus. This Riesling contains 90% Riesling grapes and 10% “other aromatic varietals” with an alcohol content of 12%.

This wine is incredibly versatile; being unoaked, it has an acidity that refreshes your taste buds and gives an elegant character of fresh fruit.

Airing more on the acidic side, the perfect balance between light and bold is something that gives this wine a very comforting mouthfeel.

I paired this wine with a Lemon Riesling cake, a recipe from Latah Creek winery that uses Riesling heavily in their recipe for both the cake and the glaze.

Lemon cake made with Riesling.

Generally, the consensus among pairings is that a lemon cake goes best with a Prosecco. The citrus flavors best draw out the bitter flavors of the lemons, and if you are trying to pair something with a regular lemon cake, this wine is what I would recommend.

However, because the lemon cake recipe I used contains Riesling, this pairing works much better.

When pairing wine with desserts, one of the most important rules is to choose a wine that is sweeter than the dessert. This makes the dessert work with the taste of the wine, rather than hinder it. Choosing a dessert that is sweeter than the wine itself will make the wine taste sour and the dish taste unfulfilling.

Once you have made this dessert, I would recommend taking a bite of the cake and then a sip of the wine. At first, I did this by accident. However, the direct mix of these flavors and textures make the cake feel very moist and spongy while complementing both of the citrus flavors perfectly.

Make sure this wine is chilled to about 45–49 degrees Fahrenheit and that you let it sit at room temperature for about five minutes after opening and before serving.

Winery: Chateau Ste. Michelle 

Varietal: Riesling

Vintage: 2021 

Locations: Columbia Valley, Washington

Price: $7–11

Pairing: Lemon Riesling Cake

I would like to emphasize that this column is not a review; my purpose for writing this series is to provide as much information about a wine as I can so that you can find your niche.

If you would like to inquire about anything I have talked about in these columns or recommend wines for me to pair in the future, email me at [email protected].

Drink up!