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Posts tagged ‘Quilceda Creek’

2006 Quilceda Creek Merlot – Bottle Notes

Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. Alex Golitzin is a nephew of André Tchelistcheff, the legendary winemaker who put Beaulieu Vineyard at the forefront of Napa Valley Cabernet in the 1960s and 70s. He credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena, California with developing his early interest in wine. Alex’s son, Paul Golitzin is now chief winemaker at the winery.

Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon has earned some of the highest scores of any wine produced in the United States. The 2002, ’03, ’05 and ’07 vintages all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Quilceda Creek also produces several single vineyard Cabernets and a Columbia Valley Red Wine.

Magenta in color. 15.2% ABV. Blockbuster nose of blue fruits, violets, molten licorice and tobacco. Rich, concentrated and super silky on the palate. Flavors of blueberry, cassis liqueur, cinnamon and dark chocolate. The finish is exceptionally long with persistent tannins. Absolutely stunning Merlot and unfortunately the last vintage of this variety made by Quilceda Creek. This would certainly rival the best from Washington and California. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 96 points.

Quilceda Creek is best obtained via the mailing list and you may be able to find some at retail in late March or early April.

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Pick My Next Bottle – Washington Wine Month

The August Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles from some of the best producers in Washington. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this weekend and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

August is Washington Wine Month. The annual celebration of Washington wine is highlighted by the Auction of Washington Wines held at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.

I’ve chosen wines from some of the most iconic wineries in Washington.

The Contenders:

  • 2003 Leonetti Reserve – Mouth-watering quantities of black raspberries and cassis liqueur are found in the nose of the stunning 2003 Reserve. A huge, immensely deep wine of intense concentration, it coats the palate with waves of dark raspberries and super-ripe black currants whose flavors linger in its exceptionally long finish. This decadent behemoth is magnificent to taste now and will be sumptuous over the next 15+ years.  97 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Unlike some minuscule production “cult” wines or luxury cuvees culled from a winery’s primary product that have earned perfect scores over the years, Quilceda Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon is the winery’s raison d’etre and is produced in significant quantities (3,400 cases in 2002, 3,425 in 2003). For accomplishing this feat the Golitzins should be doubley proud. Dark ruby-colored and sporting a nose of violets, sweet blueberries, dark cherries and slight undertones of asphalt, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon blossoms on the palate to expose a wine of ethereal delicacy yet immense power. Medium to full-bodied, it expands to reveal concentrated layers of cassis, blackberries, red cherries, raspberries, violets, spices, and touches of candied plums. This rich, exquisitely balanced, sweet, and broad wine is harmonious, graceful, and awesomely long. Projected maturity: now-2022. 100 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2011 No Girls Syrah – In the same mold, with the buzzwords being finesse and elegance, the 2011 Syrah La Paciencia Vineyard offers textbook pepper, olive tapenade, smoke and crunchy berry fruits in its medium to full-bodied, seamless and beautifully textured profile. Showing impressive complexity and already hard to resist, I-d lean towards drinking bottles over the coming decade as well. Distinctly different from both the Cayuse and Horsepower releases, winemaker Elizabeth Bourcier continues to fine-tune these No Girls releases and they always show a perfumed, lively style that-s hard to resist. They all come from the La Paciencia Vineyard, which is located in The Rocks around the town of Milton-Freewater, and all of the wines see only neutral oak. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Washington Wine Should I Open?

  • 2011 No Girls Syrah (38%, 21 Votes)
  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (34%, 19 Votes)
  • 2003 Leonetti Reserve (28%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 56

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the September installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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Wines People Love to Hate

There are no shortage of wines that collectors consider polarizing. Pegau for the often noticeable brett. Cayuse for the funky smells that I oh so love. Silver Oak for the dill pickle smell from American oak. Beyond these examples though there is a special pedestal for the most polarizing wines. Literally, the wines that collectors love to hate. The two poster child wines for this category are undoubtedly Kosta Browne and Quilceda Creek.

Any thread on a wine board about either of these producers draws out detractors who are only slightly less vociferous than your friend on Facebook who has to post about our current president every day of the week. Comments like “I dropped that list in 2009” or “I emailed the winery and told them to remove my name from the list” are somewhat commonplace on these threads. No one really cares, but the same individuals feel compelled to weigh in any time the wines are mentioned.

Kosta Browne was founded in 1997 by Dan Kosta and Michael Browne. The first several vintages produced were rich, plush and hedonistic. They received very high scores from James Laube at the Wine Spectator. Despite the high scores the wines were criticized for not resembling Burgundy in any manner shape or form. Many questioned the ageability of the wines. Starting in 2007 or so the wines seem to have become more balanced and nuanced all the while still having this amazing fruit forward style that fans of Kosta Browne adore. Prices have steadily increased and the appellation wines now cost $68 and the SVD wines over $80. This is another point of contention for the naysayers. In spite of all this the waiting list at Kosta Browne is about as long as any list in California.

Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. The wines have always been well known in the state of Washington but it was a series of 100 points scores from the Wine Advocate in the early 2000’s that propelled Quilceda Creek to the very pinnacle of domestic Cabernet Sauvignon. Many detractors point to a clear change in style about the time the high scores started rolling in. The wines made pre 2002 were more old world in style with traditional Bordeaux like structure and taste. The 2002 vintage, and subsequent wines have been made in a fashion that many say catered to the Robert Parker crowd. Big, lush, hedonistic Cabernet with more of a blue fruit profile. The high scores led to increased demand and subsequently higher prices. The cost for their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon doubled over the course of a decade.

So what do these wines have in common? Both are tremendously successful and have received high praise from critics. Both have rightfully raised prices over time. Both clearly cater to a new world palate. I’m not sure any of this is bad or should draw the ire of a certain group of collectors. Perhaps early members of the winery mailing lists felt alienated as prices increased or styles changed? Either way I am not sure what compels them to weigh in every time either winery is mentioned. Life is short and wine should be fun. Please move on and let the rest of celebrate Kosta Browne and Quilceda Creek.

I blogged about Kosta Browne and Burgundy in Kosta Browne Does Not Taste Like Burgundy. Get Over It.

I blogged about Quilceda Creek price increases in An Open Letter to Quilceda Creek Winery.

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2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

The 2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon was the winning bottle in the January installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. Alex Golitzin is a nephew of André Tchelistcheff, the legendary winemaker who put Beaulieu Vineyard at the forefront of Napa Valley Cabernet in the 1960s and 70s. He credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena, California with developing his early interest in wine. Alex’s son, Paul Golitzin is now chief winemaker at the winery.

Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon has earned some of the highest scores of any wine produced in the United States. The 2002, ’03, ’05 and ’07 vintages all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Quilceda Creek also produces several single vineyard Cabernets and a Columbia Valley Red Wine.

This wine was decanted for three hours.

Bright crimson in color. 14.9% ABV. Showstopping nose of blue fruits, graphite, wet stones and violets. Massive, concentrated and powerful. Silky and seamless on the palate. Flavors of blueberries, cassis liqueur, molten licorice and tobacco. The finish is endless. Just a stunning Cabernet Sauvignon that is entering what should be a very long drinking window. Not perfect but pretty damn amazing. Happy to have another 5 bottles in the cellar. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

My rating: 97 points.

Quilceda Creek is best obtained via the mailing list and you may be able to find some at retail in late March or early April.

I’ve blogged about Quilceda Creek previously in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Showdown

The February installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon from some of the best regions in the world known for growing this noble grape. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I will open the winning bottle this Thursday, on my wife’s Birthday, and post a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

2003 was an above average vintage in both Washington and California. 2003 in Bordeaux was marked by a once in a lifetime heat wave. The very best wines of the vintage are glorious buy many question their age worthiness.

The Producers:

  • Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. Alex Golitzin is a nephew of André Tchelistcheff, the legendary winemaker who put Beaulieu Vineyard at the forefront of Napa Valley Cabernet in the 1960s and 70s. He credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena, California with developing his early interest in wine. Alex’s son, Paul Golitzin is now chief winemaker at the winery.
  • Araujo Estate is a 38-acre vineyard in northeast Napa Valley, east of Calistoga. It was established in 1990 when Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the historic vineyard from Milt and Barbara Eisele, who planted the vines in the 1960s. For nearly 40 years the Eisele Vineyard has been known as one of the valley’s great vineyards, consistently producing outstanding wines. Several years ago Bart and Daphne Araujo sold the winery to Francois Pinault, the owner of Chateau Latour. The winery is now known as Eisele Vineyard.
  • Chateau Pichon Baron and Chateau Pichon Lalande were once part of the same estate. The Baron Joseph de Pichon Longueville, on the night of his death in 1850, divided his Pauillac estate between his five children. His two sons were awarded what became Chateau Pichon Baron. His three daughters were given what later became Chateau Pichon Lalande. Today Pichon Baron is owned by AXA insurance group and managed by Christian Seely.

The Wines:

  • 2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Another wine I’ve had multiple times recently, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot) is pure perfection in a glass and yields off-the-hook aromatics of cassis, black raspberries, tobacco leaf, pepper and licorice. Deep, layered and even elegant, with a seamless texture that conceals the sheer wealth of material present, it builds through the mid-palate, possesses huge amounts of extract and masses of polished tannin on the finish. Despite the overall size, it never loses its Cabernet Sauvignon soul and has an almost Bordeaux-like savoriness and tannic frame. Still young (yet gorgeous none the less), it can be enjoyed now or cellared for another 10-15+ years. Drink now-2028. 100 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2003 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard – Absolutely superb, this 2003 is drinking beautifully. This blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot from the famous hillside Eisele Vineyard in northeast Napa Valley tips the scales at 14.5% natural alcohol. Gorgeously fresh black currant and black raspberry notes intermixed with spring flowers and forest floor jump from the glass from one of the most aromatically complex wines of the vintage. Medium to full-bodied with sweet fruit, velvety, melted, integrated tannin, a round, generous mouthfeel and no evidence of oak, this is a classy, elegant as well as substantial beauty that continues to age well. It may even be superior to Araujo’s 2002, which, on paper, is a better vintage. The seductive, alluring 2003 should remain at this level for another 5-8 years, but there is no reason to defer your gratification. Bravo! 96 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2003 Chateau Pichon Baron – This is a brilliantly run property year in and year out, and especially since the mid- to late 1980s has produced one of the top four or five wines made in Pauillac in virtually every vintage. With 13.4% alcohol, the 2003 is one of the most powerful efforts this chateau has ever made. Its dense purple color is accompanied by sweet, jammy creme de cassis notes intermixed with roasted herbs, smoked meats, and chocolate. Although ripe, dense, full-bodied, and moderately tannic, it is silky (because of its low acidity and high glycerin) as well as accessible. It should firm up in the bottle, and be at its peak between 2008-2025. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?

  • 2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (51%, 22 Votes)
  • 2003 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard (37%, 16 Votes)
  • 2003 Chateau Pichon Baron (12%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 43

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the February installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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1992 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – Bottle Notes

Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. Alex Golitzin is a nephew of André Tchelistcheff, the legendary winemaker who put Beaulieu Vineyard at the forefront of Napa Valley Cabernet in the 1960s and 70s. He credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena, California with developing his early interest in wine. Alex’s son, Paul Golitzin is now chief winemaker at the winery.

Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon has earned some of the highest scores of any wine produced in the United States. The 2002, ’03, ’05 and ’07 vintages all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Quilceda Creek also produces several single vineyard Cabernets and a Columbia Valley Red Wine.

This wine was briefly decanted.

Crimson in color. 13.3% ABV. Stunning nose of red fruits, graphite, tobacco leaf and menthol. Silky and elegant on the palate with completely resolved tannins. Flavors of plums, currants, balsamic and cassis. The finish is long and plush. The last Reserve wine from Quilceda Creek and a glimpse into Washington wine history. Clearly ready to drink at 25 years of age. What a treat as we wind down 2016.

My rating: 92 points.

Quilceda Creek is best obtained via the mailing list and you may be able to find some at retail in late March or early April.

I’ve blogged about Quilceda Creek previously in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2004 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Leonetti Cellar was founded in 1977 by Gary and Nancy Figgins. Leonetti, along with Quilceda Creek and Woodward Canyon put premium Washington Cabernet Sauvignon on the radar of wine consumers across the United States. Leonetti also produces one of the very best domestic Merlots. Chris Figgins is now in charge of the winemaking.

77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere. Sourced from Mill Creek Upland and Seven Hills Vineyards.

Bright violet in color. 14.6% ABV. Sultry nose of red fruits, molten licorice and scorched earth. Silky, concentrated and powerful. Currants, cassis liqueur, cherries and graphite on the palate. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. The finish is endless. Stunning Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 96 points.

Leonetti has a full mailing list but the wine is readily available at retail in late-March. The winery has done an exceptional job at holding the line on prices and you may be able to buy the new 2014 vintage of Leonetti Cabernet Sauvigon for right around $100 at your favorite wine store sometime next Spring.

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The Week in Zinfandel (8/29/16)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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2008 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche – Bottle Notes

Betz Family Winery was founded in 1997 by Bob & Cathy Betz. Critical acclaim from local and national wine publications has put Betz Family Winery at the forefront of Washington wines alongside Cayuse, Leonetti and Quilceda Creek. The winery was sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel five years ago. Louis Skinner, a longtime assistant of Bob’s, is now the full time Winemaker.

2008 was the second vintage of La Côte Patriarche. The fruit is from Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima Valley. The Syrah at Red Willow was planted in 1986 making it the oldest Syrah vineyard in the state.

Inky purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Savory nose of black fruits, olives, grilled meats and wild flowers. Full bodied with tons of acidity. Powerful, layered and concentrated with firm tannins. Blackberry liqueur, black cherries, white pepper and olive brine on the palate. The finish is long and unctuous. Timeless Syrah that is delicious now but will easily age another 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 points.

I understand the mailing list is full, although I suspect the wait isn’t too long. Fortunately, the wines from Betz are readily available all over Seattle almost year-round. The 2014 La Côte Patriarche was released to the mailing list last month and should be available at retail in the near future. I’m a buyer.

I wrote about the new releases in Betz Family Winery End of Summer 2015 Release Party.

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Have I Lost my Wine Buying Mojo?

What’s happening to me? When the mailer for the 2013 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon arrived I found myself wondering If I needed more QC given I have roughly 70 bottles in the cellar. When the 2013 Dalla Valle mailer arrived I asked myself if I wanted to continue to support a winery that is raising prices again. Despite the fact that I have verticals of both wines dating back over a decade I ended up passing on the offerings.

My purchases of Bordeaux  have also decreased over the last couple years. I used to carefully study barrel tasting results from the Wine Spectator and Robert Parker to plan out future purchases. I pulled back considerably with the dramatic price increases brought on with the ’09 and ’10 vintages.

Have I lost my wine buying mojo?

Nothing has changed in my life financially that would impact my purchases. Wine is still opened at my house just about every night of the week. Perhaps it is the fact that I am getting older and do have a well stocked cellar (1600+ bottles)? This well stocked cellar includes bottles of Bordeaux dating back to the ’85 vintage and more Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon than I can drink in the foreseeable future.

I think what is at the root of my change in wine buying behavior is the fact that more and more I find myself gravitating to wineries that offer exceptional wines at “fair” prices at the expense of over priced Cabernet Sauvignon and Classified Growth Bordeaux. If you have read my blog for any length of time you know this category of fair priced wines includes the likes of Carlisle, Bedrock, Turley and Rivers Marie. Even more expensive wines like Cayuse, Kosta Browne, Rochioli and Saxum seem like relative bargains compared to the Napa Valley Cabernets and classified growth Bordeaux that used to be such a priority to me.

Or maybe now it is more about a wine I can open while hanging out and helping my kids with their homework as opposed to a “trophy” that will look good in the cellar? Or perhaps, I have lost my wine buying mojo?

Either way the passion is still there for this great hobby we all enjoy so much.

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