Wine Tasting Dinner: Washington Cabernet Sauvignon [Wow! Alert]



By Kori ~ April 21st, 2010.

Washington State Cabernet Sauvignons are among the best in the world, and they are much better values (higher QPR) than most Cabs in other wines regions of the world. Last Friday evening, we tasted six Cabernet Sauvignons from Washington State in our monthly wine tasting dinner. It was another fabulous evening of good wines, the company of wonderful friends, and Mom’s excellent food. All six wines paired well with Mom’s dinner of tomato basil soup, arugula, peach, and tomato salad, grilled filet mignon, thyme grilled potatoes and bell peppers, balsamic seasoned green beans, and German chocolate dessert with whipped topping and shaved chocolate.

The consensus favorite was the 2005 Quilceda Creek Galitzine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. With seven out of eight first place votes, it dominated the field and earned a rare 5 stars (out of 5) quality rating. It is always thrilling to discover a “Wow!” wine. 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 is no stranger to high accolades for their wines. Their flagship wine, the Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, has received three 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate for the 2002, 2003, and 2005 vintages. In 2001, they purchased and planted their own Galitzine Vineyard on Red Mountain. The 2004 Quilceda Creek Galitzine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was the first release from this vineyard.

Not only did four of these six wines receive a Quality rating of 4 stars or higher (out of 5), but the top four also received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5). Even though these wines are not inexpensive, they are well worth the money. I would encourage you to try any of these wines, especially with a meal, to decide for yourself how Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon compares to other world-renowned Cabs.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2005 Quilceda Creek Galitzine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Galitzine Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington): Deep, dark, dense red and extremely aromatic. A gorgeous nose of black cherry, vanilla, and blackberry leads to black fruit, pencil lead, and earth on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with amazing complexity and a long, lingering finish. Excellent from the first sip but really opened up with the meal. Already a “Wow!” wine but should get even better with more bottle age.
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $98; Available elsewhere, $110 to $225

2005 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington State): Dark red in color. Black fruits and spice come through on both the nose and the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high, drying tannins. Well-balanced and complex with a long finish. Improves with food.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $44; Available elsewhere, $45 to $54

2006 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (Riverbend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Dark red with a beautiful bouquet. Black cherry, black currant, and vanilla aromas lead to more black fruit and vanilla flavors. Medium to full-bodied and lively with soft, smooth tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $38; Available elsewhere, $40

2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep ruby red. Nose is a bit tight at first with some black fruit aromas coming through the longer its open. Fruit-forward with black fruits, oak, and spice on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $27; Available elsewhere, $28 to $40

2006 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep, dark ruby red and aromatic. Caramel, crème brulee, and vegetal aromas lead to vegetal and black fruit flavors. Medium to full-bodied and lively with smooth tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $45; Available elsewhere, $37 to $50

2005 Dunham Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon XI (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep, dark ruby red. Very fruit-forward with a lot of black and red fruits on both the nose and palate along with a hint of cinnamon. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $45; Available elsewhere, $43


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Five-Star Quality Wines, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Over $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Joanne | April 21st, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Someone has an awfully big wine budget. These are not everyday wines, or even special occasion wines these days, at these prices. And were they tasted blind?
    And winery price for Boudreaux is $50.

  2. Kori | April 21st, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Joanne,
    We purposely taste a wide spectrum of wines, in a variety of price points. This particular tasting dinner featured a special group of Washington Cabs. While certainly not everyday wines, they could be special occasion wines. Yes, these wines were tasted blind, as all of our monthly wine tasting dinners are blind. For a complete description of our dinners, please visit our Tasting Dinners page: http://winepeeps.com/dinner-tastings/. The list price at the winery for the Boudreaux is $50 but our policy is to list the prices that we paid which, in this instance, included a case discount.

  3. Jared | April 21st, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Kori,
    Great tasting. Nice to see the Galitzine progressing nicely. I’ve seemed to enjoy every Boudreaux cab I’ve drank. Have you had any other vintages? You guys certainly seem to dig Fielding Hills!! Keep up the good work and maybe we’ll run into each other and share a glass ometime!

  4. Joanne | April 21st, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Re: Boudreaux. You must have bought it at a wine store, as I have never known Rob to give a discount! ;)

    I enjoyed the info about the dinners from the link to the web site. They sound vey thoughtfully done and interesting. I also believe wine is best judged with complementary foods.

  5. Kori | April 23rd, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Jared,
    We had the 2006 Boudreaux Reserve Cab recently and thought it was excellent as well. And yes, we have found Fielding Hills very much to our liking, across varietals and vintages. Thanks for your kind words. I, too, hope we get the chance to meet one of these days and share a glass.

    Joanne,
    Not sure what to tell you about the Boudreaux discount. Dad (John) bought that bottle and marked down that he paid $44 at the winery. Glad you enjoyed the info about our dinners. We have been hosting them monthly for 8 years now. They are a lot of fun and educational to boot.

    Cheers!

  6. Urban Enoteca » BEST Wine Bar of 2010 | November 8th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    [...] BEST WINERY: Quilceda Creek Vintners (featured May 11 [2009], April 2, April 21) [...]

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