Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon Appellation: Columbia Valley Region: Washington Country: United States
ABOUT QUILCEDA CREEK VINTNERS:
Quilceda Creek Vintners is a boutique winery in Snohomish, Washington specializing in premium Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The winery is named for a nearby creek in Snohomish County. Although the winery facility is located west of the Cascade Range, the winery sources all of its grapes from six vineyards in eastern Washington. Quilceda Creek Vintners has earned some of the highest reviews and awards of any winery in the United States. Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon is the first American wine from outside of California to earn perfect 100-point score reviews from wine critic Robert Parker's publication The Wine Advocate.
Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. Alex Golitzin is a nephew of Andre Tchelistcheff, one of the most influential winemakers of Napa Valley, and credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena, California with developing his early interest in wine. Tchelistcheff began consulting with Washington's largest winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, in the 1960's, when the Golitzin family also moved to western Washington. With encouragement and advice from his uncle, Alex Golitzin began making one barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon a year as an amateur winemaker from 1974 through 1977. Encouraged by Tchelistcheff's assessment of the results, the family opened the commercial winery in Snohomish in 1978 and produced their first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1979. The first vintage produced 150 cases. In 1993, Alex Golitzin's son, Paul, took over responsibilities as chief winemaker. By 2000, the winery was producing 4,700 cases annually.
Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon has earned some of the highest reviews and awards of any wine produced in the United States. The 1999 vintage was named "Best Cabernet Sauvignon over $20" in a tasting of American wines by Food & Wine magazine in its October 2003 issue. The 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2007 vintages all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate. Only 15 other wines in the United States have received a 100 point score from Parker, all made from California grapes, and only five wines worldwide had ever before earned consecutive 100-point scores. The 2003 vintage of Quilceda Creek's Cabernet Sauvignon was also named the No. 2 Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator.
The current winery facility at Quilceda Creek was built in 2003 and opened on January 1, 2004. Located on 6.5 acres (2.6 ha) in the town of Snohomish, the winery has 3,000 square feet of space for fermentation and barrel aging. The winery has access to another 1,300 square feet of storage space off-site. The small winery facility is open to the public by appointment only.
The wines produced by Quilceda Creek Vintners are sourced from vineyards in eastern Washington. As of 2007, the winery used grapes from the Champoux and Palengat Vineyards near Alderdale in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, and from the Taptiel, Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, and Galitzine Vineyards near Benton City in the Red Mountain AVA. The grapes are harvested by hand, and transported 200 miles overnight by truck to the winery.
Quilceda Creek regularly produces four wines: their signature Cabernet Sauvignon, a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon made with grapes from the Galitzine Vineyard, a varietal Merlot, and a wine called simply "Red Wine" made from grapes that do not meet the quality standards sought for the signature Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of grapes from both the Red Mountain AVA and the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, and as such carries the broader Columbia Valley AVA designation. The winery blends small amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc into their signature Cabernet Sauvignon, in amounts that vary from vintage to vintage. In 2004, the Cabernet Sauvignon contained 3% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc, whereas in 2005 the wine contained 3% Merlot, but no Cabernet Franc.