Last spring was my first attending the Quilceda Creek release party. Inspired by the new wines, after the event several friends and I opened the 2003 Columbia Valley Cabernet. We also tried the 2003 and 2004 Columbia Valley Red Wines. This year we decided to make the After Party a tradition and, after the release of the 2006 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon last weekend, opened a sampling of Quilceda Creek wines from the 2004 vintage as well as the 2003 Columbia Valley Cabernet.

During the release event, winemaker Marv Crum had noted that the 2004 Columbia Valley Cabernet was drinking exceptionally well. This is quite an understatement. I would be interested to hear what Wine Advocate subtracted a point for (the wine received a 99 point rating) as this wine is as close to perfect as I can conceive. We also tried the 2004 Merlot which Crum had said “hits good for a pitcher.” Indeed. Both of these wines are drinking beautifully. In comparison, the 2003 Cabernet was monstrous and took several hours of decanting to be even slightly tamed.

This year we added a non-Quilceda wine to the mix – the 2003 Corliss Estates Red Wine. We sampled this wine at last winter’s Walla Walla Holiday Barrel Tasting and wanted to see how it compared to Washington’s best. While it took a good deal of decanting to open up, once it did, it showed why Corliss will be a major player in Washington wine.

Note: All wines were decanted over the course of several hours.







Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2004

A stunningly beautiful, refined nose with blackberry, blueberry, earth, mineral, wood smoke, and light herbs. The taste is other worldly. Perfectly refined. Immaculated detailed and textured. Hangs on the palate for minutes. Quite simply the best wine I have tasted. 96% Cabernet; 3% Merlot; 1% Cab Franc. Champoux, Tapteil, and Klipsun vineyards. 14.4% alcohol. 3,400 cases produced. Sampled at 62 degrees.



Quilceda Creek Red Wine Columbia Valley 2004

Very dark in color. A rich, opulent nose with toasted oak aromas and dark syrupy fruit. As the wine opens, earth, violets, lavendar, blueberry, and blackberry emerge. A gauzy, rich taste that effortlessly hangs on and on. Son of the best wine I have tasted. For the price a simply outrageous wine. 81% Cabernet; 13% Cab Franc; 6% Merlot. Champoux, Ciel du Cheval, Galitzine, Klipsun, and Tapteil vineyards. 14.9% alcohol. 2,100 cases produced.



Quilceda Creek Merlot Columbia Valley 2004

Extremely dark in color. A perfumed nose with lilacs, incense, black, syrupy fruit, green peppercorns, and a potpourri of spices. A gorgeous, elegant taste with grainy yet soft tannins. Dense and compact yet beautifully balanced. Lots of blackberry emerges on the nose and blackberry pie on the tastes. Give three plus years. 88% Merlot; 12% Cab Franc. Champoux and Tapteil vineyards. 14.9% alcohol. 400 cases produced. Sampled at 63 degrees.



Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2003

A fragrant nose with rich black and blue fruit mix with wood smoke and anise seed. Holy smokes what a monster on the taste! A huge tannin lick. A dense, rich, outrageous wine that needs many, many years of time. After several hours of decanting the tannins start to calm down. Give this wine quite a bit of time in the cellar still. 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot. Champoux, Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, and Tapteil vineyards. 14.9% alcohol. 3,400 cases produced. Sampled at 63 degrees.



Corliss Red Wine 2003

Intense smoke and incense on a wine that is loaded with sediment. Earth, slate, and light floral notes show through as the wine begins to open. Thick and chewy. Red fruit and cranberries glide along the palate. Exquisitely integrated tannins. A seemingly endless finish. After extended decanting, coffee grounds come to the fore. Sampled at 62 degrees.