By Kori ~ November 30th, 2009.
Last week, to celebrate Dadâ€™s (Johnâ€™s) birthday, we had what turned out to be a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon showdown in one of our double blind private tasting dinners featuring two highly-acclaimed wines from the 2005 vintage, the 2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer to How We Taste. Dad was the only one of the four of us who knew what the two wines were as he had set this tasting aside specifically for his birthday.
These wines are two of Washington Stateâ€™s most celebrated right now. In case you havenâ€™t already heard, the 2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was recently named as the #1 wine of 2009 in Wine Spectatorâ€™s annual Top 100 Wines list, the first Washington wine to receive the honor. Meanwhile, the 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon received a 100-point rating by Robert Parkerâ€™s The Wine Advocate, their third 100-point rating in four years.
Columbia Crest, located in Paterson, Washington, is the largest producer in the state. Regular Wine Peeps readers know that we have long been fans of Columbia Crest. Head winemaker Ray Einberger and his team continue to pump out great wines at great prices. Well-known for their Grand Estates and Two Vines lines, it is their Reserve line that puts them in the league with the premier producers in the state.
Quilceda Creek, located in Snohomish, Washington, was founded in 1978 by the Golitzin family. Generally considered the premier winery in Washington State, Quilceda Creek remains a small, family-owned and operated winery. Quilceda Creek wines are only offered to members of their private mailing list.
Both of these wines were outstanding and received a high 4.5 stars (out of 5) quality rating. They paired wonderfully with Momâ€™s dinner of shrimp Louie salad, prime rib, cilantro-lime mashed sweet potatoes, and seasoned green beans. We topped off Dadâ€™s birthday celebration with my homemade pecan pie and French vanilla ice cream. While we gave both wines the same rating, three out of four of us gave a slight edge to the Columbia Crest Reserve.
2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep, dark purple in color and very aromatic. Aromas of blackberry, black cherry, oak, spice, and a hint of cayenne pepper lead to flavors of blackberry, black currant, and chocolate. Full-bodied with good acidity, high tannins, and a very long finish. Well-balanced and extremely smooth.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR:Â 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $27 [sold out]
2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): Dark, dense purple. Very aromatic with black fruits, beef jerky, leather, bacon, fried okra, and a hint of asparagus on the nose. More black fruits, bacon, and earth come through on the palate. Full-bodied and smooth with high, drying tannins, and a very long finish. Well-balanced.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $125 [sold out]
Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25