In the hierarchy of West Coast wine regions Napa Valley is the one to chase. It always has been. How often have you heard the comment about, say, Paso Robles (or fill in the blank with any other AVA), “It’s just like Napa 30 years ago.” While it’s hard to argue that Napa’s reputation for absolute top-quality—one might say Grand Cru—wine isn’t well-deserved, there’s plenty of smart money betting that a few other places vie in the same Bordeaux space and excel with distinctive wines, in many ways, because they aren’t Napa.
The experts have always known this. Napa Valley’s own André Tchelistcheff, vice president and chief winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyards from 1938 to 1973 and widely considered the most influential American winemaker after Prohibition, had a famously keen eye for good terroir and cast it in far-flung places. Back in the ’70s, when he was kicking a little dirt in nascent Washington wine country, the Golitzin family consulted with “the dean of winemaking,” as he was often called in the industry, after which they founded Quilceda Creek, which would go on to earn six perfect 100-point scores from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. (There’s fascinating pedigree here: The Golitzins are descendants of Prince Lev Sergeevich Galitzine, who was an acclaimed winemaker for Russian Czar Nicholas II and dubbed “the creator of Russian champagne.” And yes, Tchelistcheff was Quilceda Creek founder Alexander Golitzin’s maternal uncle.)
In addition to Quilceda Creek, we’ve mined Washington state for Cabernet Sauvignons that go toe-to-toe with Napa’s best, yet offer variety of character from the king of reds.