2016 Quilceda Creek, Columbia Valley Red, $60
Winery info: As always, Quilceda Creek hardly needs any introduction. Founded in Snohomish in 1979 by Alex and Jeannette Golitzin, their goal from the start has been to produce world class Washington Cabernet. Over the years they have produced some of the most highly acclaimed and award-winning wines in the state. The Wine Advocate named them best Washington State Winery for 2017, and has awarded their Cab a remarkable total of six 100-point ratings over the last 13 vintages. Their CVR, Columbia Valley Red, is a blend from all their vineyard sites and represents great value.
Winemaker: Paul Golitzen
Grapes: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot
Vineyard source: Champoux, Galitzine, Palengat, and Wallula vineyards.
Flavor profile: Paul says the 2016 is the best version of this wine to date, “displaying highly aromatic black and blue fruits with nuances of anise, smoke, forest floor, and minerals.”
Production/Availability: This wine is very allocated. We may be able to get a bit more.
Drinkability: The winery recommends enjoying it anytime over the next 15 years.
Food Pairing: The CVR is always a perfect match for grilled meats, ribs, or other hearty fare.
2015 ANIMALE, Reserve Cabernet Franc, $26
Winery info: With an annual production of barely 200 cases a year, ANIMALE is truly a micro winery. Winemaker Matt Gubitosa makes those wines in the basement of his home in Ballard, sourcing fruit from select vineyards around the state. With two degrees in geology, he has an especially keen understanding of vineyard dynamics, enabling him to select the best fruit possible to achieve the complexity he seeks in his wines.
Winemaker: Matt Gubitosa
Grapes: 100% Cabernet Franc, aged in seven- to nine-year-old neutral French oak barrels and in stainless steel.
Vineyard source: McIntire Vineyard, near Sunnyside, in the Yakima Valley
Flavor profile: From the warm 2015 vintage, this wine is ripe and rich, with aromas and flavors of fresh cherries, blueberries, and hints of baking spice which linger on the long, powerful finish.
Production/Availability: Matt made only 21 cases of this wine and has just a bit left.
Drinkability: Being from a riper vintage, and hence with a bit less acidity, this wine is best enjoyed relatively soon, now through 2019.
Food Pairing: Matt suggests pairing this wine with roasted or grilled meats, or with pasta or risotto with seasonal mushrooms. (Less so with tomato sauces.)