Allen Shoup built Chateau Ste. Michelle into not only the largest winery in Washington, but one of the largest in the US. Under his leadership, they launched several other brands, all of which were successful. As a result, Ste. Michelle was almost always on everybody's top 10 lists of US wineries. After 20 years of success, Shoup retired. That's not the end of the story, but the beginning of another one. You see, people like Allen Shoup don't "retire." They reinvent themselves and, in his case, reinvented the wine industry as well.
Nine Hats was his new invention. The name refers to nine of what Shoup believes to be the best winemakers in the world. None of them said no. They were picked from Italy, California, Australia, France and Germany. A state of the art winery was built and all nine participate in one way or another in the crafting of the wines under one roof.
The concept is mind boggling. If someone came to us and said that was their plan, it would be difficult to not laugh them out of the room. Suffice to say that we would have been mistaken. Needless to say, there were no mistakes ever since their first vintage in 2003.
Washington State has long been known for great Riesling and this one belongs at the top. The clone came all the way from Germany, Riesling capital of the world. The citrus, jasmine, and melon notes match the earth and apricot to produce a classic accompaniment to baked cod or smoked salmon.