Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Quilceda Creek

We just tasted the 1998 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. Wow! Northwest Bordeaux! This is a powerhouse. Bigger and darker and more tannic than many vintages of Chateau Latour which is not too surprizing given that it is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc with no Merlot to soften it. It went great with lamb chops sauteed with fresh rosemary and garlic. It was an excellent match with the Bleu de Basque, Chevre, and aged Gouda which followed.

Our experience with this wine illustrates the common problem of when to drink a wine. Robert Parker said he thought it would be ready between 2005 and 2016. When first opened, it was quite tannic and closed. For a moment, I thought we had committed infanticide by opening it too young. After "breathing" for four hours, it started to show flavor nuances and the fruit emerged. Would it have been better in, say, 2008 or 2012? Only the shadow knows, but it is quite possible. On the other hand, it could have dried out with the tannin dominating.

Then there is the common problem with many American wines that they are made to be drunk young and garner high scores early in their lives, but don't necessarily keep well, with lovely youthful fruit turning raisiny and prune-like, leaving mostly acid and tannin in the bottle. Wouldn't it be nice if winemakers would use the back label to tell us what kind of wine they've made and what they had in mind. These days, so many wineries want it all and want to project the image of a wide window of drinkability. With new winemaking techniques and technology this is frequently possible, but most wines are either at their best in their youth or old age


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