Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon: Among the World’s Best

By John ~ February 26th, 2010.

Before I started making regular visits to Washington State wine country, I had already visited the Napa Valley of California on multiple occasions and had taken a dream trip to the Bordeaux region of France. So I had a good base of knowledge about what many wine lovers consider the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the world. And having lived in Texas for over fifty years, where Washington State wines have been historically hard to come by, I had no preconceived notions about the quality of Washington wines when I moved to Seattle.

Now after tasting hundreds and hundreds of Washington Cabs, as well as many more Napa Cabs and left bank Bordeaux, and visiting Australia and South Africa where good Cabs are also produced, I can tell you with some authority that Washington State Cabernet Sauvignons are among the best in the world and they are much better values (higher QPR) than most Cabs in other wine regions of the world.

You are probably aware that the 2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($27) was recently named as the #1 wine of 2009 in Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 Wines list, the first Washington wine to receive the honor. Meanwhile, another Washington wine, the 2005 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($125) received a 100-point rating by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, their third 100-point rating in four years.

“The father-son team of Alex and Paul Golitzin are making, by anyone’s standards, as fine a cabernet sauvignon as anyone in the world. Their single-minded focus, their ability to make brilliant wine in virtually every vintage, and, most impressively, their unbroken track record of excellence are unparalleled. Nobody does it better.” –Paul Gregutt, Washington Wines & Wineries

Last March, long before Spectator rated the 2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Cab #1, we Wine Peeps had a tasting dinner featuring six excellent Washington Cabs in a blind tasting in which the Columbia Crest Reserve Cab was the consensus favorite. Given that Cabs of this quality level from California would most likely set you back over $100, Washington wines are perfectly positioned to thrive in the current economy. This is excellent news for the Washington wine industry as well as excellent news for you and me as wine consumers.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon over the years. I think the wines can be every bit as good as those from Napa, and they tend to be much more affordable. The (2006) Fidélitas Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect example: for about $20 this kicks most Napa Valley $40 Cab’s backsides.” –Bryan Brick, K&L Wine Merchants

When you want a great Cab for a fair price, I’d suggest that you look in the Washington wine section at your favorite wine retailer. Both the Columbia Crest and Quilceda Creek Cabs mentioned above source their fruit from multiple vineyards in the Columbia Valley. In addition, there are a number of fabulous vineyards in Washington State producing single-vineyard worthy Cabernet Sauvignon. A few notable examples include Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun on Red Mountain, Champoux in the Horse Heaven Hills, DuBrul and Red Willow in Yakima Valley, Pepper Bridge in the Walla Walla Valley, and Riverbend in the Wahluke Slope.

What is your favorite Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon?

Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Wine, Washington State Wine

Reader's Comments

  1. Dale Cruse | February 26th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I like how you’ve made use of the liquid layout. Clever – a wine blog using a liquid layout! HA!

  2. John | February 26th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Dale, Kudos for the liquid layout go to Colby, the techie on the Wine Peeps team.

  3. Wine Miser | February 26th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Definitely agree on the Wa state cabs. Even the value stuff is really delivering it.

    Oh, I got your blogroll link up.


  4. Christian G.E. Schiller | February 26th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Have you tried the Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon?


  5. John | February 26th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Yes, we’ve had the ’06 Abeja Cab and it was very good.

  6. Wine Tasting Dinner: 2007 Washington Cabernet Sauvignon Revisited – OregonAVA : Oregon Wines | April 3rd, 2014 at 4:39 am

    […] Washington State Cabernet Sauvignons are among the best in the world, and they are much better values (higher QPR) than most Cabs in other wine regions of the world. And, the 2007 vintage was one of the best vintages in the history of Washington State. We featured 2007 Washington Cabernet Sauvignon in one of our wine tasting dinners several years ago when those wines were recently released. Now that wines from the 2007 vintage have some bottle age on them, we decided to revisit some of those Washington Cabs in our wine tasting dinner last Friday. It was another fabulous evening of great wines, the company of wonderful friends, and LaGayle’s (Mom’s) excellent food. All six wines paired extremely well with our dinner of tomato basil soup, mixed green salad, prime rib with beef glacé, braised kale, rosemary roasted red potatoes, and German chocolate dessert with whipped topping garnished with dark chocolate. […]