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 Spectatorâ€™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 Parkerâ€™s The Wine Advocate, their third 100-point rating in four years.
â€œThe father-son team of Alex and Paul Golitzin are making, by anyoneâ€™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.â€ â€“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.
â€œI’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) FidÃ©litas Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect example: for about $20 this kicks most Napa Valley $40 Cab’s backsides.â€ â€“Bryan Brick, K&L Wine Merchants
When you want a great Cab for a fair price, Iâ€™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