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1996 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

1996 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Paul Golitzin, Director of Winemaking, comments:

A chilling eastern Washington freeze in February of 1996 resulted in a crop reduction of about one-third compared to a normal harvest.

The vintage presented two challenges. The first was tannin management to avoid creating a tannic monster as can happen when Cabernet Sauvignon is harvested at low yields. The second was to craft the wine with different percentages of our traditional sources that we normally use since crop loss varied from vineyard to vineyard.

This is our first release with Cabernet Franc added to increase the wine’s aromatic complexity. It is a complex and supple wine with flavors and aromas of black fruits, Asian spices, smoke and vanilla. The wine is really delicious now, yet has the structure to allow cellaring for 15+ years.

Vintage Notes


85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Merlot


Champoux, Ciel du Cheval, Hedges, Klipsun, Tapteil, and Kiona


100% New French Oak

Time in Barrel:

22 Months

Time in bottle before release:

14 months

Case Production:


International Wine Cellar Review

"Ruby-red. High-pitched aromas of cassis and blueberry lifted by floral and minty nuances. Tightly wrapped, dry and quite firm; possesses very strong fruit but currently extremely unevolved. Tannins are strong today."
Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

Score: 91(+) Pts.

Wine Advocate Review

"Strategically placed between Chateau Margaux and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild in a blind tasting of the superlative 1996 Bordeaux first growths, the 1996 Quilceda Creek not only held its own, but was indistinguishable from its Bordeaux brethren. Revealing a saturated, dark purple color, its soft, salty, black raspberry jam, licorice, and coconut aromas lead to a medium to full-bodied character of unbelievable sweetness. Extraordinarily well-balanced, this velvety textured, powerful, and elegant wine displays black raspberry flavors that last throughout its exceptionally long, pure finish. It is a testimony to Alexander and Paul Golitzin, the father and son winemaking team, that they were able to produce such an extraordinary wine in the difficult 1996 vintage. Bravo!

Produced from a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc, the saturated, dark ruby-colored 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits sweet cherry, herbal spice, and candied blackberries in its elegant, sexy aromatics. It is seamless, refined, and possesses a harmony, equilibrium, and delineated finish rarely seen in the New World. Projected maturity: 2003-2018."
Pierre-Antoine Rovani, Robert M. Parker Jr.'s Wine Advocate, #126, 2000

Score: 94 Pts.