2013 Quilceda Creek, CVR, $51.50
Winery info: Founded in 1979 by Alex Golitzen in Snohomish. Have always been dedicated to the production of world class Washington state Cabernet.
Winemaker: Paul Golitzen, assisted by Marv Crum and Jesse Schmidt.
Grapes: 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec
Vineyard sources: Champoux, Tapteil, Wallula, and their own Galitzine vineyards, aged in 100% French oak. The CVR (Columbia Valley Red) is a blend of declassified fruit that did not make it into their flagship wines, still some of the most coveted fruit in the state.
Flavor profile: Full bodied and seamless, with ample flavors of dark red fruit, smoke, spice, and minerals
Production/Availability: 4,000 cases made. We got our usual generous allocation, but this wine doesn’t last long and the winery expects to sell out by the end of summer, 2016.
Drinkability: Wonderful at a recent holiday dinner but can be cellared for the next 8 to 10 years.
Food Pairing: As you would expect, this wine is an excellent match for grilled meats, ribs, or other hearty fare.
2011 Tertulia Cellars, Carménère, Phinny Hill Vineyard, $36
Winery info: Established in 2005 in the southern portion of the Walla Walla Valley.
Winemaker: Ryan Raber, who has degrees in Enology and Viticulture and a culinary background. He joined Tertulia right after graduation and was their first winemaker.
Grapes: 80% Carménère, blended with 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet, vinified in 100% neutral French oak for 20 months before bottling.
Vineyard source: Sourced from Phinny Hill Vineyard in the western section of the Horse Heaven Hills, with gravel soils, excellent exposure, and a long growing season. Shaped by both the Missoula Floods and ancient volcanic lava flows, the site is known for producing fruit with great finesse and structure.
Flavor profile: A great example of Washington-grown Carménère, smooth and somewhat rich, with notes of espresso, crushed black pepper, and hints of flint.
Production/Availability: 245 cases of this wine were produced, but it is still in good supply at the small distributor that carries it in Seattle.
Drinkability: Drinking great now but you can also put it aside for next summer’s barbecues.
Food Pairing: A grilled pepper-crusted sirloin or perhaps a juicy gourmet burger.