Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – Washington Wine Month

The August Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles from some of the best producers in Washington. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this weekend and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

August is Washington Wine Month. The annual celebration of Washington wine is highlighted by the Auction of Washington Wines held at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.

I’ve chosen wines from some of the most iconic wineries in Washington.

The Contenders:

  • 2004 Leonetti Reserve – There are only 670 cases of the 2004 Reserve, a wine composed of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 11% Petit Verdot (a grape which does amazingly well in the Walla Walla and Columbia Valley AVAs). It spent 22 months in a combination of new French barriques and larger French oak. The aromatics feature pain grille, floral elements (especially violets), truffle, spice box, cassis, and black currants. Supple-textured, dense, and full-flavored, the wine has enough structure for up to a decade of cellaring and should drink well through 2040.  97 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Also offering off-the-charts richness, with a flamboyant, hedonistic profile, the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon (96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc) possesses spice-laced aromas and flavors of cassis, smoke tobacco, roasted meats, dried licorice and wild herbs that are to die for. Full-bodied, incredibly layered, rich and textured it has no hard edges, masses of tannin and a finish that won’t quit. I’ve been lucky enough to taste this cuvee three times (rated 96 and 97) in the past handful of weeks and this was the best showing yet. From a cool vintage, it is still youthful and vibrant, and will continue to shine for another 15+ years. Drink now-2028. 98 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Betz Family Winery Père de Famille – Bright, deep ruby-red. Musky, minerally, spicy aromas of blackberry, blueberry, leather and tree bark. Quite penetrating on the palate, with terrific intensity and cut to the black cherry and currant flavors. Denser and larger-scaled than the Clos de Betz. This, too, finishes with excellent cut, growing sweeter and longer as it opens in the glass. There’s firm tannic spine here but no impression of dryness. 93 points from Stephen Tanzer.

Which 2004 Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?

  • 2004 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (47%, 16 Votes)
  • 2004 Leonetti Reserve (26%, 9 Votes)
  • 2004 Betz Family Winery Père de Famille (26%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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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 September installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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5 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – Washington Wine Month

  1. 2004 Leonetti Reserve is my pick. Curious how their Bordeaux blend is doing after roughly 14 years. Cheers Tom!

  2. I know it’s the least flashy of the 3, but I’d choose Betz. I think their wines balance lush fruit with earthiness incredibly well – plus Bob is just the bees knees. :)

  3. I always go for the wines I’ve not enjoyed old vintages from, so I can live vicariously through you and learn a little from the process.

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