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


"Veteran winemaker David Larsen really nailed the 2017 vintage"Stephen Tanzer, Vinous Magazine, December 2020

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Ciel du Cheval Vineyard. Bright ruby-red. Reticent but very pure scents of blueberry, blackberry, cocoa powder, licorice and spices. Fine-grained, vibrant and concentrated; very young and rather tightly wound but already offers a lot of personality, definition and energy, as well as a very suave mouth feel and captivating incipient sweetness. The fullest and most refined of the Soos Creek 2017s today. Finishes suave and long, with integrated tannins and rising notes of purple berries and violet. It’s clear that this wine is from a topnotch site. Veteran winemaker Dave Larsen really nailed the 2017 vintage. 93 Pts. Stephen Tanzer, Vinous Media, October, 2020.

2017 Terrible Beauty Cabernet Sauvignon. Fruit for this 100% Cabernet comes from Elephant Mountain, Klipsun and Weinbau vineyards. The aromas show purity, with notes of violet, dried and fresh herbs, cherry and scorched earth. The plum and cherry flavors are lip-smacking, bringing a lot of acidity and tannin structure. It’s beautiful, with a long life ahead of it. Editors’ Choice. 93 pts. Sean Sullivan, The Wine Enthusiast, December, 2020.

2017 Artist Series No. 17 Cabernet Franc makes up 65% of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. With fruit coming from Ciel du Cheval, Dineen, Klipsun, Slide Mountain and Weinbau vineyards, garden herb, plum, fresh black cherry, dark chocolate and light barrel notes are followed by focused fruit and barrel flavors. A tight coil of chewy tannins ties it all together. One for the cellar. Best after 2024. Cellar Selection. 93 Pts. Sean Sullivan, The Wine Enthusiast, December, 2020.

2017 Sundance Merlot (46%) and Cabernet Franc (43%) take the lead on this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s aromatically locked up out of the gate, eventually opening to reveal notes of cocoa, flower and raspberry. The palate brings plentiful red fruit flavors, a whole lot of acidity and chewy tannic structure. Best after 2024. Editors’ Choice. 91 Pts. Sean Sullivan, The Wine Enthusiast, December, 2020.

2017 Soleil Merlot comprises half of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Franc (32%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (18%). Quite reticent out-of-the-gate aromas of raspberry, dark fruit, flower, pencil shavings and spice are followed by medium-bodied fruit flavors with quite tightly wound, chewy tannins that need significant time to settle in. Best after 2024. 91 Pts. Sean Sullivan, The Wine Enthusiast, January, 2020.

2017 King Cab Broad-shouldered yet agile, with expressive black cherry and blood orange flavors, accented by tarragon and spice notes. Finishes with refined tannins. Drink now through 2028. 90 Pts. Wine Spectator, March, 2020.