Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Red 2010
Blend: 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.