Q & A Alex & Paul Golitzin Passing the Baton in Washington State
Wine Enthusiast: Has Quilceda Creek has already achieved everything that it can achieve?
Paul Golitzin: We’ve never made our best wine. We can always do better. A 100-point wine today won’t be a 100-point wine in five years. The bar is always getting raised.
Alex Golitzin: There’s no question the wines we made in the 1980s are not as good as what we make today.
WE: Paul, growing up around the winery, did you always know you’d make it your life’s work, or was there some thought of doing something else?
PG: For years, it was strictly a matter of manual labor. For many years I despised the winery; I wanted to spread my wings and do something else.
WE: What happened?
AG: We went to Bordeaux in 1985, and my uncle had arranged for us to have lunch with André Lurton. There were 14 wines for us to try; Paul’s about 16 years old at the time. I thought, "Oh boy, he’s gonna fall into the soup!" After lunch, he says to me, "You know, Dad, I really like this lifestyle!"
PG: It was a defining moment. It was awesome. Just think about it; I’m this young kid, with André Tchelistcheff as a mentor.
WE: What do you like to drink here at home?
AG: We taste stuff all the time, from California, Bordeaux. Cabernet-based wines. Other wines we love? Sauternes, Ports, Amarones, Pinot Noir if it’s really good. Or it might be a Kistler Chardonnay, or a Paul Hobbs. Also Zind-Humbrechts. Those are wonderful wines.
PG: We rarely buy a case of anything. It’s more fun to drink stuff from all over the place.
WE: Paul, what’s it like working with your dad?
PG: He’s definitely a mentor. He inspires me. He’s very intellectual, which can be intimidating at times. I always want to outdo him. He’s got a wonderful palate. He’s firm, kind of an Old World kind of guy. He’s easily influenced by me because he’s proud of me, I think.
AG: [chuckling] You get your way because you’re right.
WE: How do you rate Washington State as a wine region?
AG: I think it’s the most spectacular place for Bordeaux varietals in the world. I don’t think there’s any place that can even come close. You can get the grapes ripe every year. This place is incredibly consistent.
PG: Right near Bordeaux is kind of where we’re at. Wines with a wonderful core of fruit, a strong sense of place and a minerality. Wines that will last.