Quilceda Creek – named after a creek near the winery – is the standard bearer for excellence in Washington wine. The winery had its first commercial release in 1979. Since that time Quilceda’s success has been unparalleled with three of the last four vintages receiving perfect 100 point scores from Wine Advocate (the 2004 was a step down at 99 points). Quilceda Creek’s 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon was my 2008 Wine of the Year and our 2008 Reader Survey Wine of the Year. The word Quilceda means “salt water people” and has its origins from the Tulalip tribe located nearby.

Quilceda currently produces two cabernets: one from the Columbia Valley and one from Galitzine Vineyard, Red Mountain AVA. Starting in the fall of 2009, Quilceda will release a third cabernet from Palengat Vineyard in Alderdale, Horse Heaven Hills AVA near Champoux Vineyard. Palengat Vineyard was purchased several years ago and is bears the maiden name of Jeannette Golitzin. Approximately 1,000 cases of the Palengat cabernet will be produced. Quilceda also produces a merlot and a red wine. The winemakers for these wines are listed as Paul Golitzin, Marv Crum, and Alex Golitzin.

Quilceda is planning construction of a new building which they hope to complete in approximately one year. This facility will allow all wine production to be done under a single roof. Quilceda currently occupies two buildings and shuttles equipment and wine between the two.

Quilceda Creek’s wines are sold exclusively through a mailing list. The winery is open one time per year in April for mailing list members and their guests (that would be me) to pick up their allocations of Columbia Valley Cabernet and Merlot. Other releases are shipped directly to customers. At the release event the winery provides each guest with a red (Red Wine) and black (Cabernet – pictured at left) poker chip for a pour of these wines. The Cabernet was released this weekend. The Red Wine will be released in the fall. With each passing year, it seems impossible to imagine that the Quilceda releases will live up to their predecessors. However, the 2006 Cabernet and Red Wine are every bit as good as the wines that came before them.

While the Cabernet is both expensive and largely unavailable, the Red Wine, produced from declassified barrels, is a bit more widely available and is consistently exceptional. Suffice to say that when a winery is striving for perfection, the barrels that fall short are still far above most other wineries in the state (NB: For those in the Seattle area the Quilceda Creek 2005 Red Wine is currently available at Cellar 46 on Mercer Island for $20 a glass)

Next up, the 2nd Annual Quilceda Creek Pick-up After-party including tasting notes from:

  • Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2004
  • Quilceda Creek Merlot 2004
  • Quilceda Creek Red Wine 2004
  • Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2003







Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006

A dark, brilliant wine. A rich nose with cassis, vanilla, chocolate, and fresh ground pepper. A fair amount of alcohol shows at times, perhaps due to the temperature. Surprising amounts of chocolate and an interesting spice component – nutmeg? Light herbal notes also emerge. Dense and rich. Considerably more integrated than the red wine at present. This is a beautiful wine that perfectly combines power and elegance. Will benefit from significant additional bottle time. 97% Cabernet; 3% Merlot. Champoux, Klipsun, and Taptiel Vineyards. 15.2% alcohol. Sampled at 69 degrees.



Quilceda Creek Red Wine 2006

Dark and inky in color. Almost opaque. Abundant dark fruit, including black currant and blackberry jam, along with spice and oak. Touches of vanilla and light perfume. A thick, gripping wine with a strong tannin lick and a gigantic mid-palate loaded with fruit and spice. Lots of oak notes on the nose. Alcohol comes through occasionally as well. One year in the bottle. Still fairly closed at the moment. Decant extensively before consuming or wait 3-5 years. Tasted twice with consistent notes. 77% Cabernet; 10% Cab Franc; 10% Merlot; 2% Petit Verdot; 1% Malbec. 15.2% alcohol. Sampled at 65 degrees.