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Snohomish winemaker up for prestigious James Beard Award

  • Alex Golitzin and his son, Paul, of Quilceda Creek Vitners.

    Courtesy photo

    Alex Golitzin and his son, Paul, of Quilceda Creek Vitners.

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By Jackson Holtz
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Alex Golitzin and his son, Paul, of Quilceda Creek Vitners.

    Courtesy photo

    Alex Golitzin and his son, Paul, of Quilceda Creek Vitners.

SNOHOMISH -- A Snohomish winemaker has landed on the short list for a prestigious national culinary award for the second year in a row.
Alex Golitzin, the president and founder of Quilceda Creek Vintners, was nominated Thursday for a 2011 James Beard Foundation Award in the "outstanding wine and spirits professional" category.
The James Beard Awards are the Oscars of the culinary world. They're named for the famous cook and author who is credited with inspiring the gourmet movement in America.
"It's a tremendous honor not only for the Golitzins but also for the state of Washington," said Katie Sims, a spokeswoman for the winery. "They're honored to be on the short list."
Golitzin was having eye surgery Thursday and was not available for comment.
Quilceda Creek was established in 1978 and was among the first wineries in the state.
The Snohomish vintners are widely known for their cabernet sauvignon, made from grapes grown in the Columbia Valley of Eastern Washington. Golitzin was the first winemaker in the state to achieve a perfect 100 in Wine Advocate, an achievement he's been able to repeat multiple times.
Just last month, a 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon was served at the White House during a state dinner when President Obama hosted Chinese President Hu Jintao.
"They're truly extraordinary wines," said Phillip Dunn, a sommelier and the assistant wine director at Canlis in Seattle. Canlis was nominated this year for James Beard Awards in the service and wine service categories.
The Seattle restaurant has several Quilceda Creek vintages on its exclusive wine list, including the 2005 cabernet served at the state dinner. It sells at the restaurant for $400 a bottle.
"I tried these wines and I was like, 'wow,'" Dunn said.
Golitzin was born in France at the beginning of World War II. He moved from Paris to San Francisco in 1946. It was in the Bay Area that he first spent time around winemakers, including his uncle, Andre Tchelistcheff, who was considered the dean of American winemaking.
Golitzin also is a distant cousin to Prince Lev Sergervich Golitzin, the vintner to Russian Tsar Nicholas II. Nicholas ruled Russia until he abdicated the throne in 1917 and was later executed by the Bolsheviks.
Trained as a chemical engineer, it wasn't until the mid-'70s that Golitzin started to dabble in wines. In 1974, while he worked a day job at Scott Paper, Golitzin and his wife, Jeannette, rolled out their first barrel of cabernet.
Quilceda Creek sold its first bottle in 1979 and the business blossomed as it aged.
Golitzin retired from Scott Paper in 1994 to focus solely on the wine business.
He would share the acclaim of being nominated with his son, Paul, who took over wine making in 1992, Sims said.
"Paul has an outstanding palate," she said. "Together (the father and son) have been a very powerful force in Washington wines."
Other national nominees from the Puget Sound region include Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Jerry Traunfeld, the chef at Poppy in Seattle, and Staple & Fancy Mercantile, also in Seattle.
The James Beard Awards are scheduled to be announced May 9 in New York.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; jholtz@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » FoodWineAlcohol

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