Alex Golitzin’s family had escaped from the Russian Revolution to move to the wine region of the Loire Valley in France, and that is where Alex was born. However, when WWII broke out Alex Golitzin and his family moved to Paris.
When the war was over the Golitzin’s felt there was still a threat from Russia based upon the power they gained relatively quickly. They felt Russia was aggressively taking over countries and ruling with an iron fist, which was unnerving to many Russian immigrants in Europe.
The Golitzin family could have never guessed that their son, Alex, would become a key player in establishing the production of great Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. Even more unbelievable was that he would be helped by an uncle who would arguably become the most famous U.S. winemaker of all time.
Luckily, Alex had a maternal uncle in the United States who could help him and his family emigrate. To be clear, it wasn’t any ordinary uncle…it was the legendary Andre Tchelistcheff, know as the “Dean of American wine making”.
Andre had been left for dead in the Russian Civil War. He escaped and fled to Paris where he became a student of chemistry and agronomy. A Frenchman named George de Latour convinced Andre to work for him at his winery, Beaulieu Vineyard in the Napa Valley in the late 1930’s… and the rest is history. Tchelistcheff became the most influential individual in the history of California wine making which led to the Napa Valley achieving worldwide recognition.
Andre went on to help his nephew, Alex Golitzin, and his wife Jeannette, to start a winery in Washington State. That would become one of the critical pillars of establishing the Columbia Valley in Washington State as an area for producing one of the finest Cabernet’s in the world.
Andre’s main advice was to “make one wine and make it really well.” And so, they made an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and named their winery after a nearby creek, Quilceda Creek Winery, releasing their first vintage in 1979.
Alex and Jeannette’s son, Paul Golitzin, was bitten by the winemaking bug at an early age (no wonder, since his great-uncle was Andre Tchelistcheff). Paul learned a great deal from Andre and his son Dimitri, which keeps Paul, to this day, always trying to find improvement in reaching a higher level of excellence.
A great winemaking prowess is undoubtedly present in the very talented Paul Golitzin. As he approaches the 50th anniversary of his family winery he is focused on Quilceda Creek Cabernet’s balance between power and elegance.
As the director of winemaking his goal is to express the nuanced differences of terroir between his Champoux vineyard, the cooler climate Mach One vineyard, and several other vineyards owned by the family.
Paul has been working towards not only single vineyard bottlings of his Cabernet Sauvignon but also adding another facet to the expression of place, a single clone Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety that matches the aspect and soil of a particular plot.
Quilceda Creek is now taking another leap forward by bringing attention to the unique “thumbprint” of each clone to the ideal plot of vineyard. One recent bottling of the 2020 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon “Palengat” was awarded 100 points from the Wine Advocate, which is sourced from a plot of their Mach One vineyard using Cabernet Sauvignon clone 685.
When it comes to assessing a historically significant person’s legacy, it is always difficult to say whether they achieved more while they were alive or if they achieved a greater pronouncement of their achievements in death.
It is a debate that has merit on both sides. Still, there is one defining principal not to be ignored: Paul Golitzin benefited from the knowledge passed on from Andre. He’s going to show the world there is so much more to Cabernet than possibly imagined.
The exquisite beauty of these wines are breathtaking, with lovely structure as the tannins feel like delicate lace. Exotic aromas from each single vineyard balancing the terroir with the skill of a master craftsman gives us pause as to the possible greatness still to come from this award winning winery.