Quilceda Creek Vinters

Blind Tasting, Bordeaux, France
March, 2001

Robert M. Parker, Jr.
A blind wine tasting held at my French lawyer's home in Bordeaux proved to be a fabulously successful event. The evening began with the 1995 Haut-Brion-Blanc, a corked bottle of 1995 Laville-Haut-Brion, and a gorgeous bottle of 1996 Marcassin Chardonnay Gauer Ranch that elicited oohs and aahs from all the Bordelais winemakers present. Still very young, it makes me wonder if I am not too tough on my aging requirements for the greatest California Chardonnays.

After that it was an unusual occurrence in Bordeaux ... a tasting of northern Rhones and a handful of USA Cabernets. The 1991 Chapoutier Hermitage Pavillon, 1996 Chapoutier Hermitage l'Ermite, 1997 Guigal Côte Rôtie La Mouline, 1997 Guigal Côte Rôtie La Turque (corked), 1997 Guigal Côte Rôtie La Landonne, a 1992 Harlan Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1995 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. Coming at the end, and being American, it was obvious we were dealing with an altogether different kind of beast. The 1992 Harlan Cabernet Sauvignon, which has been somewhat closed, was spectacular, possibly because it had just been hand-carried in a suitcase to Bordeaux. This unctuous, super-concentrated wine will be one of the few California Cabernets that matches Bordeaux for elegance and complexity with another 5-10 years of development. I do not get the opportunity to taste many Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignons since it is covered by my colleague, Pierre-Antoine Rovani, but the 1995 was a brilliant, youthful, vigorous Cabernet Sauvignon with great definition and extraordinarily pure fruit. It is a tour de force in winemaking.


1995 Haut-Brion-Blanc 90
1995 Laville-Haut-Brion ?
1996 Marcassin Chardonnay Gauer Ranch 96
1991 Chapoutier Hermitage Pavillon 100
1996 Chapoutier Hermitage l'Ermite 98+
1997 Guigal Côte Rôtie La Mouline 95
1997 Guigal Côte Rôtie La Turque ?
1997 Guigal Côte Rôtie La Landonne 98
1992 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 98
1995 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 96


Note to Readers about the Hedonist's Gazette

The abbreviated, spontaneous, and visceral tasting notes and numerical ratings in this section should not be confused with professional, structured tasting notes from specific peer group tastings or cellar tastings. The Hedonist's Gazette notes emerge from casual get-togethers, with the food and company every bit as important as the wines. I do not consider these tasting comments as accurate or as pure in a professional sense, but they are part of a wine's overall record. In short, focus, so critical in a professional tasting without food or other distractions, is clearly on a different level in such "fun gatherings." -Robert M. Parker, Jr.


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