Private Tasting: 2008 Washington Bordeaux-style Red Blends

By Kori ~ February 6th, 2012.

Washington State produces many excellent wines from many different grape varieties. There is much debate as to which red wine Washington does best. Some say Syrah, others Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, and others red Bordeaux-style blends. Recently, we had what turned out to be a Washington Bordeaux-style red blends showdown in one of our private tasting dinners pitting the 2008 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Red Wine against the 2008 Columbia Crest Walter Clore Red Wine. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer to How We Taste.

The Golitzin family founded Quilceda Creek, located in Snohomish, Washington, in 1978. 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. This Columbia Valley Red Wine is a blend of declassified lots, basically lots that for whatever reason were not selected to go into their flagship Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Columbia Crest, located in Paterson, Washington, is the largest producer in the state. The Columbia Crest winemaking team has produced more 90+ scoring bottles of wine than any other winery in the world. Head winemaker Juan Munoz Oca 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, which includes this Walter Clore Red Wine, which puts them in the league with the premier producers in the state.

Both wines were very good, but all four of us preferred the Quilceda Creek Red Wine. It is an excellent wine that sells for a quarter of the cost of a Quilceda Creek Cab.

2008 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec. Dark purple in color. Nice nose with jammy, red and black fruit roll-up and licorice aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $32; Available elsewhere, $40 to $75

2008 Columbia Crest Walter Clore Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 57% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Malbec. Aromatic with black fruit, leather, and spice on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity,  medium tannins, and a long, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30; Available elsewhere, $35

Filed under: American Wine, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25

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