Instrumental Washington Winemakers Through the Decades

From Quilceda Creek in 1979 to Prospice in 2019.

By Sean P. Sullivan 9/24/2019 at 9:00am Published in the October 2019 issue of Seattle Met

  • 1979: Quilceda Creek makes its first commercial wine—a cabernet sauvignon; it goes on to become arguably the most prestigious label in the state.
  • 1989: Soos Creek creates its first wine in founder David Larsen’s garage, starting a 30-year legacy of unassuming excellence.
  • 1999: Charles Smith launches K Vintners, focusing largely on single vineyard syrahs, and in doing so sets himself up to become a ruler of Washington wine.
  • 1999: James and Poppie Mantone start Syncline Winery. Rhône-style wines in Washington are never the same.
  • 1999: Ernst Loosen of Germany’s Dr. Loosen partners with Chateau Ste. Michelle to create Eroica and leads a U.S. riesling renaissance.
  • 2009: Charlie and Lacey Lybecker found Cairdeas Winery, helping to put Lake Chelan on the appellational map.
  • 2019: A new crop of wineries are already making waves this year. See Grosgrain and Prospice.

Soos Creek Wine Cellars
24012 172nd Ave SE
Kent, Washington 98042

David and Cecile Larsen,

Phone: 253-631-8775


"These wines are under-priced for their quality"Stephen Tanzer Reviews in November, 2015 Issue of Vinous

2015 Vieilles Vignes Ciel du Cheval Vinyard - (aged 21 months in 50% new French oak): Bright medium ruby. Aromas of black cherry, dark berries, dark chocolate, licorice and graphite are glossier and classier than those of the basic Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon. Concentrated, dense and suave, conveying a finer-grained texture and more inner-mouth mineral lift than its sibling. Much longer on the aftertaste as well, with rising dark berry and spice flavors revealing less early sweetness but more structure and refinement. I find more consistent ripeness and verve here, but this wine will require patience. 92+ Points - Stephen Tanzer, Vinous Magazine

2015 Sundance (Columbia Valley) - Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon make up nearly equal parts of this wine, which is finished off with a healthy dollop of Cabernet Franc. High-toned notes of dried herb, black cherry and bittersweet chocolate are followed by plump dark fruit flavors. Chocolate notes linger on the finish. It's a bit bunched up at present but has the stuffing to go the distance. Best after 2021. Editors' Choice. 91 points - Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

2015 Artist Series – Spent 22 months in 30% new French oak. Bright ruby-red. Pungent aromas of cassis, black cherry, licorice, spices, lead pencil and peppery herbs, with obvious new oak scents. A step up in inner-mouth energy and definition from the Sundance Red Wine, offering a finer-grained texture, a more restrained sweetness and captivating violet florality to the flavors of dark berries, bitter chocolate and spices. Juicier, fresher and more refined than the Sundance, and firmer and longer on the aftertaste, with ripe, dusty tannins reaching the front teeth. This rather suave midweight should offer good cellaring potential. 91 points – Stephen Tanzer, Nov., 2018

2016 Artist Series – Description not yet released 90 points – Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

2016 Terrible Beauty – Description not yet released 92 points – Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

2015 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Bordeaux Blend – The ‘Ciel du Cheval vineyard’ Red Wine is a silky blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon (57%) with the remainder Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wine starts off with a bouquet of black tea, Asian spice, dark chocolate shavings and espresso bean that fills the nose. The palate has good weight and tension, with moderate tannins. Black tea, mocha, crème de cassis and red bell pepper flavors all nicely mingle together. Rich and layered, this is an outstanding effort by Soos Creek that can be enjoyed in the next fifteen plus years. Drink 2018-2033. 92 points – Owen Bargreen, Washington Wine Blog