Columbia Crest Tops List
Equally noteworthy is that Columbia Crest is the first wine produced in Washington state to fill the top spot in Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 wines of the world ranking.
“For the first time in the Wine Spectator’s 21-year history of creating an annual ranking of the world’s Top 100 wines, editors have named a wine from Washington state as No. 1. This is an historic moment for Columbia Crest and for all wineries in Washington,” said Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Columbia Crest’s parent company, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
Since 1988, Wine Spectator editors have surveyed the wines that they have reviewed during the previous 12 months in order to select their Top 100 Wines of the World. The 2009 ranking was culled from 17,000 wines tasted and reviewed by editors with the final selection based on such attributes as a wine’s quality, value, availability and excitement.
Prestigious châteaux and estates from the world’s most important wine regions have held the No. 1 designation in previous year, including, Australia: Penfolds; Bordeaux: Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Château Latour, Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron and Château Lynch-Bages ; California: Paloma, Joseph Phelps and Caymus; Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Clos des Papes, Château de Beaucastel, E. Guigal ; and Tuscany: Solaia and Ornellaia.
“We are honored that editors selected the Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as No. 1 in its 2009 Top 100 list,” said Winemaker Ray Einberger.
“And it’s a particular honor to be the first wine from Washington state to receive this recognition. We have always believed that the region is among the best wine-producing areas in the world, and this reinforces that belief.”
Columbia Crest’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has been ranked previously on the magazine’s Top 100 list. In 2004, Wine Spectator ranked the 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon No. 30, and over the years 15 Columbia Crest wines have been named to the Top 100 list. Einberger, who became head winemaker in 2003, joined Columbia Crest in 1993 and helped to establish the winery’s Reserve program, which has received consistently strong acclaim.
Columbia Crest’s Reserve wines are hand-crafted in le petit chai, a small winery within the overall winery. The chai is dedicated to Walter Clore, the father of the Washington wine industry, and it’s there that the artisanal approach to winemaking is reminiscent of the top boutique wineries and châteaux. In fact, cellar techniques are modeled, in part, on Einberger’s experience working in the cellars of Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Clerc Milon in Bordeaux and Opus One in Napa Valley.