Quilceda Creek 2011 Columbia Valley Red Wine

Quilceda Creek 2011 Columbia Valley Red Wine


The CVR is always big and bold, one of the bigger 2011 reds I’ve seen, driven by waves of black fruit, sweet vanilla, and toasty oak. Still, it endeavors to preserve the subtle intricacies of the vintage, with esoteric qualities of graphite, toasted star anise, and wild rose buds. The palate is medium-full bodied with assertive yet polished tannins and balanced acidity. There are additional notes of black currant preserve, and the generosity of aging in 80% new French oak barrels for 22 months makes itself known with an announcement of half-baked cookie dough flavors. Approachable now, but can surely age given the structure; if you open it in the next year or two, be certain to decant for an hour or two ahead of time. 

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We have a rare treat of Quilceda Creek today. Previously we had the pleasure of offering their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon - the one that goes for $200 or more - and today we have their value wine, the Columbia Valley Red, or CVR for short.

The Galitzine family, who own and operate Quilceda, have built a following based on their 100-point getting, hard to find, Cabernet Sauvignon label which hogs the spotlight year-round. Even so, for many insiders, the CVR is the back-stage favorite, because it’s made using the same quality fruit, with the same careful craftsmanship and attention to detail. Meanwhile, it’s just as hard to get a hold of, since Quilceda produces about the same amount of it as their flagship Cab, while offering it at a quarter of the price.

2011 was a cooler year, so Alex and Paul Galitzine thinned their crop down to 40% of its typical yield, in order to maintain the level of depth and concentration we’ve come to expect from Quilceda. The few grapes which were left on the vines receive the added benefit of extra hang-time, which came with the 2011 vintage, making for especially complex fruit. The result is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, and the crop is reaped from, hands down, some of the very best vineyards in Washington State, including Champoux, DuBrul, and Klipsun, as well as Quilceda’s recently activated estate vineyards, Galitzine and Palengat.

  • Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
  • Vineyard: Champoux, Discovery, DuBrul, Galitzine, Klipsun, Palengat, Shaw, Tapteil, Wallula
  • Grape: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc
  • Aging: 80% New French Oak for 22 months
  • Drinkability: Now through 2020
  • Body: Medium/Full
  • Drink This if you Like: Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Press: 91 pts Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
  • Food Pairings: Filet Mignon with demi-glace