Quilceda Creek Vinters
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s, The Wine Advocate.
Closing Date: 12-31-02
Issue 144

Pierre Rovani

Alex & Paul Golitzin, the father and son team who handle winemaking duties at this family-run operation (fulfilling a dream, Alex has staffed the winery with his children and their spouses) are going from strength to strength and are making the necessary investments to ensure the continued quality of its wines. A Golitzin Vineyard (abutting Ciel du Cheval, it will be managed by that vineyard’s viticultural maestro, Jim Holmes) will soon be planted and the groundbreaking for their new winery should take place in the Spring.

Quilceda Creek’s second wine, know simply as “Red Wine”, is crafted from fruit and barrels declassified from the winery’s top bottlings (fully 35% of the production was declassified in 1999). One thousand cases of the medium to dark ruby-colored 1999 Red Wine were produced. It reveals lovely aromatics of black fruits, roasted spices and hints of asphalt. Medium-bodied, broad, and lush,, it is a thick, expansive wine candied blackberries and spices. Projected maturity: now-2010. Score: 89

According to the Golitzins, 75% of their black-colored 1999 Merlot hails from Klipsun Vineyard. They mentioned that its fruit in that vintage “had the smallest berries we’ve ever seen.” Only 250 cases of this intensely aromatic wine were produced. Loads of spices, cassis, black cherries, and blackberries are found in its fresh, boisterous nose. An expansive, medium to full-bodied wine, it coats the taster’s palate with sweet red fruits, candied raspberries, and cherries. Its velvety textured character leads to a seamless, wonderfully long finish that reveals prodigiously ripe tannin. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2012. Score: 94

The dark ruby-colored 2000 Merlot (only 250 cases) is more tannic and rustic that what is typically found at Quilceda Creek. Produced primarily from Ceil du Cheval Vineyard fruit (66%), it exhibits waxy, spicy blackberry aromas. On the palate, this firm, medium-bodied wine offers outstanding purity and focus. Black currants, cassis, and black cherries can be discerned in its foursquare character. Projected maturity: 2005-2013. Quilceda Creek did not produce a Merlot in 2001 according to Alex Golitzin. Score: 89

Blackberry jam, juniper berries, and spiuces can be found in the rich aromatics of the stunning, dark-colored 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon. A wine of awesome breadth, width, concentration, and power, this full-bodied beauty is crammed with lush layers of blackberries, plums, and cassis. This offering’s prodigious fruit envelops its copious silky tannin. Additionally, it displays an extraordinarily long finish. Drink it between 2005 and 2016. Score: 96

Even better, the sumptuous 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark ruby-colored wine with mouth-watering aromas of highly expressive blackberries awash in toasted oak and roasting spices. Medium to full-bodied, thick, concentrated, and exquisitely balanced, this mouth-coating tour de force is densely packed with jammy black fruits and cassis liqueur. It combines elegance with power in a manner reminiscent of Chateaux Margaux prodigious 1990. This velvety-textured wine is complete, with magnificent depth of fruit, a profound personality, and the requisite structure for long-term cellaring. Bravo! Projected maturity: 2006-2020. Score: 98+

The dark ruby-colored 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon has a nose reminiscent of a blackberry-flavored Yoplait yogurt laced with roasted oak and hints of licorice. A full-bodied wine of power and structure, it is crammed with black currants, blackberries, and spices. Its dense fruit is matched blow for blow with a muscular, firm structure. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2020. Score: 94+

Quilceda Creek’s saturated black-colored 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon continues this winery’s brilliant string of successes. Its intense aromas reveal a huge depth of blackberry and cassis fruit. Concentrated, backward, and deep, it is a medium to full-bodied wine with exceptional balance, purity, focus, and length. Powerful yet refined, it coats the palate with cassis and jammy blackberries whose flavors linger for almost a minute. Projected maturity: 2008-2020+. Score: barrel sample 96-99

Is there a winery in the world that has produced a finer set of Cabernet over the past decade?