Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 1998 Washington Cabernet Sauvignon

1998 Leonetti, Woodward Canyon, Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

The March installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 1998 Washington Cabernet. As I mentioned in the July installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle on March 30th and publishing an in-depth Bottle Note on April 1st.

The 1998 vintage was a winemakers dream in the Walla Walla Valley. The year was very warm with perfect conditions from bloom to harvest. Yields were naturally low and resulted in wines of incredible intensity, color, and fruit.

The Contenders

’98 Quilceda Creek – Blackberry jam, juniper berries, and spices can be found in the rich aromatics of the stunning, dark-colored 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon. A wine of awesome breadth, width, concentration, and power, this full-bodied beauty is crammed with lush layers of blackberries, plums, and cassis. This offering’s prodigious fruit envelopes its copious silky tannin. Additionally, it displays an extraordinarily long finish. Drink it between 2005 and 2016. 96 points from The Wine Advocate.

’98 Leonetti Reserve – I could not help breaking into a smile when I tasted the medium to dark ruby-colored 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Its extraordinarily spicy, cherry syrup-scented nose leads to a flavor profile that explodes on the palate with substantial quantities of cherry syrup, raspberry coulis, and Asian spices. Gary Figgins’ Cabernets can be as boisterous as Olivier Humbrecht’s Gewurztraminers. The purity and power of the sweet, spicy fruit flavors found in this wine are truly extraordinary. Additionally, it possesses an extremely long, candied, sweet tannin-filled finish. 96 points from The Wine Advocate.

’98 Woodward Canyon Old Vines – The old vines in question hail from what used to be the Mercer Ranch Vineyard (now Champoux), and date back to the 1970s, making them ancient for Washington state. Purple black, spicy and deep, this is a sensational wine that manages to be both elegant and powerful at the same time. Dense, ripe fruit, detailed spices, balanced oak and perfect tannins make this a textbook Washington Cabernet. 94 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Which 1998 Washington Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Woodward Canyon (54%, 43 Votes)
  • Leonetti (28%, 22 Votes)
  • Quilceda Creek (18%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 79

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the April installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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15 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 1998 Washington Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. WC always ages well and the QC seems to hit its stride with age but I have heard a lot of hit and miss with older Leo’s. So that’s why I wanted you to pop it.

    1. 1998 was an amazing year for Leonetti. The regular Cabernet is still a stunner. Whether it wins or not I intend to check in on the Reserve soon.

  2. I chose the Leonetti in hopes of learning more about their wines. 98 is a vintage long before I started learning about wine so any one of these will be great to hear about.

  3. I voted for the Quilceda. I recently opened the 1990 and was disappointed with the result. Have been discouraged from purchasing recent release as result. Just curious how you see it here in ’98.

  4. Voted for the Leonetti, just because I have been hearing about it from quite a few places lately. Next would have been Woodward. Surprised to see Woodward so far out in the lead!

    1. Took a moment to look at the Cellartracker reviews. You are right many average reviews but some exceptional reviews as well. I think you see the same thing with QC. People love these wines or just don’t get them. You know what camp I’m in!

  5. I’m in the minority opting for the Quilceda Creek, but it’s the wine about which I’m most curious. Though comparing Figgins to Humbrecht is high praise, indeed.

  6. I voted for Rick Smalls Woodward Canyon. The 1999 Special Selection is my favorite! Plus, they are open to the public so I can regularly purchase their wines.

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