Have you heard of Long Shadows Vintners? It might not be a well-known name here in Vancouver, but this Washington State winery has made it’s name in it’s home state and I hope expand it across the States and Canada. For most wineries, you have a single wine maker to guide the wine making process. Long Shadows is different. For each wine, it has it’s own wine maker. And beyond that, a super-star wine maker from somewhere around the world.
Washington State has some wonderful grape producing regions. The grapes for the Long Shadows wines comes from the Columbia Valley. Within the Columbia Valley you have individual vineyards, with their unique terroir. The winery is located in Walla Walla, which is located in the southeast corner of Washington state.
How did Long Shadows decide to work with international wine makers for their wines? That vision comes from the founder, Allen Shoup. Allen was the CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. With his time there, he brought over Piero Antinori to produce the Tuscan-inspired wine, Col Solare. He then brought over Dr. Ernst Loosen to produce their Eroica riesling. So when he started Long Shadows, Allen again contacted well-regarded wine makers from around the world to produce his wines.
The Wines I Tasted
Poet’s Leap Riesling 2010. This wine was crafted by Armin Diel, one of Germany highly acclaimed riesling producer. The Diel family owns and operates Schlossgut Diel estate in Germany. The grapes for this wine were hand harvested and sorted, whole cluster pressed and fermented at cool temperature in stainless steel tanks. The wine was pale lemon coloured in the glass. Nice nose. Very fragrant with flowers, citrus, orange and honeysuckle. Medium body, round, off-dry. Flowers and citrus flavours with sweet spices showing up mid-palate. Long length. I loved this wine.
Pirouette 2005. This is a Bordeaux style red blend, primarily made with Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Petit Verdot and Merlot. This wine is made by wine makers Philippe Melka and Augustin Huneeus, Sr. Philippe Melka originall from Bordeaux has worked around the world at J. P. Moueix in France, Chittering Estate in Western Australia, Badia a Coltibuono in Italy, and Dominus in California. Augustin Huneeus, Sr. is a native Chilean who has worked at Veramonte (Primus) and Concha y Toro of Chile, and Franciscan Oakville Estate, Mount Veeder, Estancia and Quintessa in California. This wine was light garnet in colour. Vanilla, cedar and ripe cherry aromas. Medium plus body. Very smooth with medium tannins and acidity. Cedar, cherries and other black fruit flavours. Long length.
Chester-Kidder 2oo4. This wine is listed as a New World blend, as it has grapes from different Old World wine regions. In this case you have Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot (which are Bordeaux grapes), Syrah (which is a Rhone Valley grape), and Cabernet Franc (which is in both Bordeaux and in the Loire Valley). This wine was produced by Gilles Nicault and Allen Shoup. Gilles Nicault graduated from the University of Avignon in southern France and worked at wineries across Cote Du Rhone, Provence and Champagne. He then moved to the United States to Woodward Canyon and the Hogue Winery (If you haven’t tried Woodward Canyon, you should. Wonderful wines.).This wine is aged for 30 months in French oak, and a small amount of Hungarian oak. The Cabernet grapes coming from the Red Mountain and Candy Mountain regions of Columbia Valley, and Syrah from their estate Benches Vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills. Translucent garnet in the glass. Restrained nose with light vanilla and sausage aromas. Very flavorful with ripe berries and vanilla. Smooth with medium tannins and acidity. A bit of pepper mid to late palate. Long length.
Saggi 2007. A Super-Tuscan inspired blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah produced by father and son wine makers, Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari. Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari operate Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute, producing primarily Tuscan “grand crus,” in Tuscany. Prior to launching A. & G. Folonari Tenute, Ambrogio was the president of Ruffino, which was originally purchased in 1912 by Ambrogio’s grandfather. Saggi was aged in new and used small French oak barrels for an average of 18 months. The Sangiovese grapes comes from vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills, the Benches and Alder Ridge. The Syrah from the Boushey Vineyard. This wine was medium ruby coloured with a light cherry nose. Full body with round mouthfeel. Heavy weight in your mouth. Medium minus tannins with vanilla, red cherries, oak and peppery flavours.
Feather 2006. Feather is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, with grapes from several vineyards across the Columbia Valley AVA. The wine is crafted by Napa Valley vintner Randy Dunn, who is well known for producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The grapes are hand harvested, fermented in small lots for an average of 22 months in new French oak barrels. The wine was light garnet in colour. A whiff of capsicum on the nose, along with vanilla and light cherry aromas. Dry with firm tannins. Flavours of ripe red fruit, cherry, vanilla with some pepperiness and tarriness. A very nice wine.
Sequel Syrah 2006. This wine is created by John Duval, former wine maker of Australia’s Penfold’s Grange wine, which is a Syrah-based wine. So Sequel is aptly named as the follow up for John in Washington State. The grapes for this wine come from The Benches, Alder Ridge (for dark fruit falvour), Red Mountain (for structure) and Boushey Vineyard (for elegance) according to John. Deep garnet in the glass. Gamey, smokey sausage with vanilla and cherry aromas. Medium body, round mouthfeel with medium acidity. Ripe cherries, oak, almonds, and vanilla flavours with a long dry finish.
Pedestal Merlot 2006. This wine is crafted by one of the world’s most famous wine makers, Mr. Michel Rolland, an enologist from Pomerol in Bordeaux, France. Hand harvested grapes were then whole-berry fermented to provide softer tannins and to preserve the grapes’ aromatics. The wines then spent an average of 22 months of aging in French oak barrels. This wine was medium garnet in colour. Light nose with red fruit, plums and vanilla. Very flavourful. Medium body with cherries and vanilla, and soft tannins with kick in the mid to end palate. Long finish. Another of my favorite wines of this tasting.
There were also three collaborative wines, named Nine Hats. These wines come from individual wines produced by the wine makers, that are then blended to form the Nine Hats series of wines.
Nine Hats Sangiovese 2008. Light garnet in colour. Light red fruit and oak aromas. Light body. Dry with low tannins. Clove, red cherry and vanilla flavours. An elegant wine.
Nine Hats Bordeaux Blend 2008. Deep ruby in colour with a light red fruit nose. Dry, with firm tannins. Vanilla, red apples, plums, bon bon and vanilla (mid palate). Long length. Another one of my favourite wines.
Nine Hats Syrah 2008. Medium purple in the glass. Red fruit and sausage aromas. Medium body, smooth with good acidity. Vanilla, red cherries, spice and a bit of sausage flavours. Long length.
The Sequel, Chester Kidder, Pedestal, Pirouette and Feather wines will have new, lower pricing here in Vancouver starting approximately August 1. Check out for Long Shadows wines at private wine shops, or email email@example.com to find out which shops near you have their wines.
If you would like to learn more about Long Shadows Vintners, I provided this link.