Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
#98 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Cellar Selection Wines of 2020
The 2017 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley showcases the singular and elusive perfume of Champoux Vineyard at its very best. Aromas and flavors of violets, lavender, blackberry, cassis, and plum fruit can be found in the wine with nuances of cocoa nib, spice, and minerals. The ethereal, silky texture allows the rich fruit to coat the palate in a horizontal fashion, allowing the taster to experience the purity and seamless integration of all its elements in wonderful harmony.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Revisiting the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon at a year on, the wine remains bold and structured and has had a bit more time to come together and harmonize. The wine remains generous on the nose with sweetness of fruit and a glossy character, which offers chocolaty undertones in the glass with aromas of lavender and black cherry that are still persistent on the nose. Full-bodied, the tannins are beginning to round with an additional year in bottle. At the same time, the palate offers layers of dusty blackberry essence and juicy plums with elegant baking spices from the 100% new French oak aging before ending with a rich, juicy and intense finish. The original score and drink date still stand.
Long and very justifiably regarded as one of Washington State’s preeminent producers of fine Cabernets, Quilceda Creek has come up with a striking trio in 2017. This one stands out as being the best of a remarkable bunch and marries richness with real finesse in its riveting presentation of extraordinarily deep and beautifully defined varietal fruit. Optimally ripe and decked out with lovely oak, the wine is a class act with tremendous aging potential, and, if already fascinating, it is a highly collectable, cellarworthy working that is guaranteed to pay big dividends with a decade or more of patience.
Quilceda Creek’s flagship cabernet, this is a blend of four vineyards, including estate fruit from Palengat and Champoux, in the Horse Heaven Hills. It’s seamless, balanced and exceedingly well tailored, the scents of tar, tanbark and briar set against bright red fruit in a firm, sinewy package. A wine for lamb.
Established in 1978 by Alex and Jeannette Golitzin with the first vintage produced in 1979, Quilceda Creek is Washington State’s 12th bonded winery after Prohibition, but the family’s storied history with winemaking dates back to the late 1800s. Family owned and operated and one of Washington State’s premier wineries, Quilceda Creek has dedicated itself to producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines of Quilceda Creek have been an expression of five vineyards in the coveted Horse Heaven Hills and Red Mountain American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Champoux Vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in Washington State and the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown there have produced five of Quilceda Creek’s perfect 100-point wines. Grapes for the sixth 100-point wine were sourced from Galitzine Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA. Today, Paul Golitzin oversees all aspects of winemaking and vineyard operations, pursuing the same standard of excellence that brought Quilceda Creek to world prominence.
A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!
Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.
Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.