Big day tomorrow. As new “private members” of Quilceda Creek Vintners, we’ll have the opportunit to purchase bottles from their latest release, the 2010 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley. We got notification in the mail ten days ago.
When the letter came with the news, I had no memory that I had signed up. I didn’t even remember their existence. Then I went to the website and saw that they’re based in Snohomish—my friend Russ’s stomping grounds. That’s when I realized that the bottle of wine Russ brought us a couple of years ago must have been Quilceda Creek. And we must have liked it, leading me to sign up for a shot at their annual allocation. A query to Russ confirmed this.
According to the website, “Quilceda Creek is dedicated exclusively to the production of world-class Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. Founded in 1979, Quilceda Creek has had an unbroken string of highly-rated vintages that has led Robert Parker Jr. to name it Washington State’s premier Cabernet Sauvignon producer.” As for the 2010 release:
We are pleased to announce the private release of the 2010 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley. The 2010 growing season started with bud break arriving on schedule in early April. Then, a cool, wet spring led to delayed flowering and reduced fruit set, resulting in naturally low yields. The cool summer produced dramatic differences between warmer and cooler sites throughout the state. Our vineyards are located in two of the hottest AVA’s for this very reason. The result is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon. 2010 marks the 32nd vintage of Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaker Paul Golitzin describes the 2010 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon as having a rich, velvety mouth feel. It is filled with layers of dark chocolate covered black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit with exotic nuances of Tahitian vanilla bean, violet pastilles and Asian spices. Its seamless integration of all its component parts makes it approachable now, but will age effortlessly for 20+ years.
Mind you, this stuff isn’t cheap. Not at $135 a bottle, which would be more than we’ve ever spent for wine. But I trust Russ, who moreover explained that “the real reason to purchase the supreme stuff is getting allocation for their ‘Columbia Valley Red Wine’. It is a blend, almost always strongly cab and could be called cab, made from the barrels that they don’t put into the $135 bottles.” And it costs only $35 per bottle. The $135 bottles are the price of admission for the cheaper ones.
We won’t know how many bottles we’re eligible for until we log in tomorrow. At least we won’t have to pay for shipping. The letter informing us of our allocation suggests that we drive up to Snohomish on the weekend of March 16/17 to pick it up. At that time we “will have the opportunity to taste the current release, meet with family members, and have some wonderful appetizers paired with the wines.”
Is it worth it? I have no idea how to assess worth when it comes to wine. But we may as well give it a try and see what we think. Of course, we’ll have to lay our purchase down for a few years, so we won’t have an answer for a while.