Washington Wine Club – December 2010

2007 Quilceda Creek, Columbia Valley Red Wine
Ah, Quilceda Creek. The wine has become a local legend and, after four perfect scores in six years from Robert Parker, their Cab is one of the most sought after wines in the world. Lucky for all of us, they also produce a red blend (this year, 72% Cab Sauv, 20% Merlot, 6% Cab Franc, and 2% Malbec) that, being made by the same winemakers with the same excellent sources of fruit, is a great introduction to the Quilceda Creek style. Paul Gregutt described the wine perfectly: “The wine is supple, rich and delicious, full-bodied and aromatic, with exotic barrel scents and a lovely mélange of chocolate, mocha, caramel and spice. But the fruit is the main story, and it’s full, ripe and substantial – cherry and cassis, licorice and just a hint of leaf. Without a doubt, this is the best Red ever from this iconic winery.” It is tasting beautifully now, but it could certainly age for a few more years. Do enjoy it within 5-7 years, with whatever you love to eat that merits a superb wine. Thanks to Quilceda Creek’s generosity, we were able to get enough to put in the club, and there are even a few bottles extra. It is $49.75 and worth every penny.

2007 Robert Ramsay Cellars, Upland Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Like so many other pioneers in the Washington wine industry, Bob Harris, the owner and winemaker at Robert Ramsay Cellars in Woodinville, started off making beer, then hard cider, and finally home-made wine. In 2001, he made the leap from hobby winemaker to professional by helping to found Coeur d’Alene Cellars. When his day job making software took him to the Puget Sound, Bob stayed in the wine industry by starting Robert Ramsay Cellars. He makes small amounts of Syrah and Cabernet, but his hallmark is blending in small amounts of other varietals to get the flavors he wants. This Cabernet shows the success of his efforts, as the 2% Mourvedre gives the wine earthy flavors not often seen in Yakima Valley Cabernets. And it definitely helps that the fruit is from one of the very oldest vineyards in Washington, originally planted by William Bridgman in 1917. Best of all, the French oak (50% new), alcohol, and berry flavors are in perfect balance, although you could wait a year or two for the tannins to soften. It would be great with game or other rich foods. Although Bob made only 119 cases, it is still in good supply at $38.