Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
We produced less of this vintage than in other years because of freeze damage at our Champoux vineyard in late 2010. Fortunately, the rest of the growing season went well, with a cool spring and summer followed by a warm fall. The vineyards achieved full physiological maturity and gave the winemaking team some extraordinary raw material to work with. So, quantity was affected, but not quality.
The 2011 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley is a very rich, ripe, and concentrated wine made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, yet it has an added, almost herbal element amid its fruit. There is tremendous drive to the wine with a liqueur-like texture and weight that leads you into seemingly endless waves of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, and plum, plus nuances of violets, Asian soy, smoke, cedar, vanilla, minerals, and black tea. The amazingly long finish lasts for over a minute. This is a classic wine and it should age effortlessly for more than 20 years.
Paul Golitzin, Director of Winemaking
More serious, and one of the wines of the vintage, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) has uncommon concentration and depth in the vintage, as well as a broad, structured profile that will allow it to age gracefully. Loaded with sweet crème de cassis, exotic spice, licorice and graphite, it's a full-bodied, elegant and classically styled effort that has nothing out of place, fine, building tannin and a rock star finish. It will be approachable at an earlier stage than most vintages, yet still have two decades of longevity.
Always producing some of the finest Bordeaux blends in any vintage, owners/winemakers Alex and Paul Golitzin continue to keep Quilceda Creek at the pinnacle of Cabernet Sauvignon in Washington State with these 2011s and 2012s. Looking at their 2011s, yields were down close to 40%, and this shows with the wines possessing gorgeous depth, richness and concentration. While Paul feels his 2011s are just as concentrated as his 2010s, the overall impression between these two cool vintages is distinctly different and the 2011s show much more up-front, perfumed and supple profiles. As always, the tannin management here is second to none and while the 2011s have plenty of tannin, you have to hunt for it as they're incredibly polished and silky. These 2011s will be approachable at an earlier stage than normal, yet evolve gracefully on their overall balance. Looking at the 2012s, I was blown away by these samples, which were shipped to Colorado and then followed for multiple days. Described as a "good" and "welcome" vintage by Paul, the wines have blockbuster levels of concentration and richness, yet stay beautifully pure, elegant and focused. They're up there with the creme de la creme from this fantastic estate. Don't miss them. Alcohols here are in the 15.5 range (with the 2011 around 15), but you'd never know it from tasting the wines. The big news at this estate is that with vineyard-owner Paul Champoux retiring, the Golitzin's were able to increase their ownership in the Champoux Vineyard from 40% to 66%. Other owners here include Powers, Andrew Will and Woodward Canyon. How this effects the overall production levels is yet to be determined, but a top producer getting more grapes from a top site is never a bad thing from a consumer standpoint. Drink: 2014 - 2034.