Enjoy the Ultra-Premium Wines from Long Shadows Vintners

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

Long Shadows Poet's Leap Riesling

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.

Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot

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 adoyle@markanthony.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.

More Wineries to Check at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF

As I mentioned in my earlier blog article, the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, has a PDF brochure now available. It  has a listing of all the wineries attending this year. I started to point out some wineries to visit at the International Festival tasting, but needed this second article to finish off the list.  I already covered Spain, Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, and BC.  Although I may not mention each winery listed, I still suggest trying them as you may find a wine you love.

Wines from Germany

Germany is well-known for their rieslings.  In their Qualitätswein mit Prädikat rating system. You have:

  • Kabinett
  • Spätlese
  • Auslese
  • Beerenauslese
  • Trockenbeerenauslese and
  • Eiswein

With increasing level of sweetness.  But don’t forget that Germany also produces wines from Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir,  Scheurebe, Bacchus, and Gewürztraminer (and more). Bürgerspital Estate would be one winery to try as they do have a wide range of varietal wines to try.  It is also amazing to consider how steep the slopes are where they grow their grapes; check out the picture I included from their website. Schloss Schonborn is another premium winery, has a wide range, and a sparkling wine.

Wines from Italy

In Italy, the first in the list is Antinori.  This is a large, well-known, and regarded winery, that has it’s winery in Italy, but also wineries in California and Washington state.  Their innovations played a large part in the “Super-Tuscan” revolution of the 1970s. They are well-known for their launch of Tignanello, a barrique-aged wine from the Tignanello vineyard that contained not only Sangiovese, but also Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which meant that it was ineligible for the Chianti Classico appellation.  This wine, plus Sassicaia from another Tuscan winery, helped to bring about the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification in Italy. Needless to say, if they are pouring Tignanello, you should try it.

Accordini Igino is from the Veneto region (NorthEast) of Italy, famous for Valpolicella and Amarone. If you have never tried an Amarone, you should be in for a treat.  Amarone is a rich, dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. The drying process concentrates the remaining sugars and flavors in the grapes to produce a full-bodied wine with lots of flavour. Consider an Amarone for a special dinner.

Beni di Batasiolo is from the Piedmont (NorthWest) corner of Italy.  Beni di Batasiolo is quite well-known for their off-dry Moscato d’Asti, but they do have a wide range of red and white wines.  On the red side, we may be treated to a Barolo, Barbaresco, or Barbera d’Alba.

Ca’ del Bosco is a winery from the Lombardi region of Italy. They are a relatively new winery, who is on the leading edge of the exciting new wave of Italian wine producers, making top-quality sparkling and still wines.  I checked their website and they do have quite a range of sparkling wines, that I am looking forward to tasting.

Wines from New Zealand

New Zealand and BC are quite similar.  We both have been producing wines from the noble grapes starting the 1970s.  We are both also cool-climate wine producers, and I think make some very nice Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Astrolabe, Giesen Wine Estate, Man O’War Vineyards, Mud House Wines, and Sacred Hill Wines are wineries that you may not have heard of, but they all are very good producers.  Try Astrolabe‘s Sauvignon Blanc . I can recommend the Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008. When I tried it last year it had a range of smoky, cherry, and leafy aromas. Wild flavours on your palate with cherry, oak and strawberry flavours.  Also try Mud House’s Pinot Gris.  I also recommend trying the Giesen “The Brothers” Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2008. Again from a past tasting, it had lots of herbal and gooseberry aroma. Bracing acidity with green flavours.

In August 2010, I was able to meet with Man O’ War winemaker, Mr. Duncan McTavish. At that time I recommended his Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 and his red blend made with Merlot / Cabernet / Franc / Malbec 2008.  The winery also has a premium level of wines called their Black label wines.  They are named after great battleships or classes of battleships.  Hopefully Duncan will be bringing his  Valhalla Chardonnay, Dreadnought Syrah, and Ironclad Bordeaux blend. Read my MyWinePal Meets Man O’ War article here.

Wines from Portugal

The G7 Wines of Portugal group visited Vancouver a few months ago, introducing us to the still white and red wines of Portugal, and of course their wonderful port.  Aveleda has a variety of labels: Casal Garcia, Aveleda Fonte, Quinta da Aveleda, Aveleda Alvarinho, Charamba, Follies and Adega Velha. You may be most familiar with their Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, “green wine”.  Vinho Verde, comes both as a red and a white wine, but I think only white wines have reached BC.  Vinho Verde is a very refreshing and versatile white wine that has a bit of effervescence to it. Try it with some seafood. They also have a Follies line of wines. I was fortunate to taste their Follies Cabernet Sauvignon / Touriga Nacional (30/70%) 2008 (~$16). It was one of my favorite wines from the G7 tasting. Violets, black fruit, spice and mint aromas. Full bodied. Good fruit / tannins balance. Purple fruit flavour with a dry tannic finish.

Quinta do Crasto is well-known for their ports here, and will hopefully show us their range of still red wines. There are a few of their red wines currently available through the BCLDB, but there are many more to show. Their single varietal Touriga Nacional and their Touriga Roriz should be interesting to taste.  These are two of the indigenous grapes to Portugal that go into the blend for port. The most expensive ports are primarily made from Touriga Nacional. It has aromas and flavours of violets, blueberries, black fruits, and spice. A grape that produces a very full-bodied wine. Touriga Roriz is the most widely grown grape in Portugal.  It has cherry, jam, blackberry and spice on the nose. The grape has high tannins, and can age for a long time. Quinta do Vale Dona Maria is another producer of both port and still red wines to check out at the festival. Symington, Fonseca Guimaraens and Taylor Fladgate are famous port producers.  You should visit all of them, but maybe wait toward the end of your tasting session as these ports could overpower your palate for white and red still wines.

Wines from South Africa

South African wines are a bit of Old World and New World style put together.  People tend to have strong feelings about South African wines, either for or against.  Many of their wines are in my opinion built for drinking together with food.  We are lucky to have some premium South African producers at the Festival.  Boekenhoutskloof produces some great red wines from entry level to premium.  On the entry level they have The Wolf Trap, which is a blend containing syrah, mourvedre, and viognier. You get spice, structure, and perfume from these three grapes respectively.  On the premium, hopefully we will have a chance to try their Boekenhoutskloof Collection Syrah.  On the label you will notice 7 deck chairs, which I was told represents each one of the winery principals. It is quite a process to produce this wine which is fermented with native yeasts.  Here is the description from BHK’s website:

“In 2008 the fruit was harvested over an one week period starting on February 25st. The complexity of this wine also benefits from the diversity in grape maturity from the different picks. The fruit is kept in the cold room overnight before it gets sorted and crushed into concrete fermenter. A small percentage of whole bunches were put into the bottom of the tank of some batches to get a slight effect of carbonic maceration. After 4 days of cold soaking, the fermentation starts by only using native yeasts. The primary fermentation is done within two and a half weeks with the temperature that peaks at around 29°C. During the fermentation the wine gets a delestage 2 – 3 times per day. Pigeage was never done on this Syrah. It also received a postfermentation maceration for another week before being pressed to 2nd filled barrels to undergo MLF. After 18 months in barrel the wine gets a light egg-white fining and racking before its final 9 months in oak.”

Graham Beck Wines produce a wide range of wines, from sparkling to dessert to white, rose, and red wine.  Graham Beck also has a social conscience and opened the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre near Madeba in Robertson. Part of an extensive and innovative social development program, the centre aims to facilitate skills development for the long term upliftment of the farming community in the Breede River Valley.  They also are supporters of the environment. You can read about Graham Beck’s Biodiversity drive here. I have enjoyed their Game Reserve Shiraz, Game Reserve Chenin Blanc, and their Méthode Cap Classique Brut NV sparkling wine in the past.  Glen Carlou‘s Syrah and Chardonnay has won many awards from around the world.  Their Syrah 2004 was awarded John Platter’s Wine of the Year in 2006.  Their wine is reasonably priced, is a general listing in the BCLDB, and in my opinion a great deal.

Wines from the USA

There are plenty of wonderful wines from the USA. From Oregon there is the solid King Estate.  They are well known for their excellent Pinot Noir, but I also really like them for their Pinot Gris.  For Washington State, you will want to try Columbia Crest.  The Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, was Wine Spectator’s No. 1 Wine in the World for 2009. Also I’ve tried their H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and really enjoyed it (Horse Heaven Hills = H3).   There are several California wineries to choose from.  If you like big, jammy Zinfandels, I would expect to see the wide range that are produced by RavenswoodCaymus Winery and Clos Du Val are two cult level wineries for Sauvignon Blanc. Another good producer of Cabernet Sauvignon at a lower price point is Louis M MartiniRodney Strong (both their white and red wines are excellent), Robert Mondavi, and Stag’s Leap are also excellent producers of wine.  Give them each a try.

I could keep going on about all these wineries, but I think I’ll stop with this.  If you have any favorite wineries, please let me know, and go out and enjoy the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival!!!

GERMANY ITALY
Balthasar Ress Antinori
Bürgerspital Estate Azienda Vitivinicola
Deinhard Accordini Igino
Henkell Badia a Coltibuono
Schloss Reinhartshausen Bastianich / La Mozza
Schloss Schonborn Beni di Batasiolo
St. Urbans-Hof Fontanafredda
Mionetto
Pasqua
GREECE Rocca Delle Macìe
Boutari Tenuta Sant’Antonio
Santa Margherita /
Ca’ del Bosco
ISRAEL Tedeschi
Galil Mountain Winery /
Yarden
NEW ZEALAND
PORTUGAL Astrolabe
Aveleda Giesen Wine Estate
Blandy’s Madeira Kim Crawford Wines
Fonseca Guimaraens Man O’War Vineyards
Quinta do Crasto Mud House Wines
Quinta do Vale Dona Maria Oyster Bay Wines
Sogrape Vinhos Sacred Hill Wines
Symington – Dow’s Port Stoneleigh
Symington – Graham’s Port
Taylor Fladgate / Croft
USA
CALIFORNIA
SOUTH AFRICA Bonterra Vineyards
Boekenhoutskloof Caymus Winery
Durbanville Hills Clos Du Val
Graham Beck Wines Delicato Family Vineyards
KWV Wines Francis Ford Coppola
Presents LLC
Nederburg
Glen Carlou
J. Lohr Vineyards
& Wines
Louis M Martini
Miner Family Vineyards
OREGON Quady Winery
King Estate Ravenswood Winery
Ridge Vineyards
Robert Mondavi Winery
WASHINGTON Rodney Strong Vineyards
Columbia Crest Signorello Estate /
Hedges Family Estates / Edge Winery / Fuse Wines
Snoqualmie Vineyards Stags’ Leap
Trefethen Family
Vineyards
Truchard Vineyards
Wente Vineyards

Here is the download link for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival brochure.  Enjoy!

Boekenhoutskloof

A Wonderful Portfolio Tasting With Mark Anthony Wine Merchants

Today I was fortunate to taste a range of wines around the world that are represented in BC by Mark Anthony Wine Merchants. There was red, wine, sparkling, rose, and fortified wines.

The wineries and countries that were available for tasting were:
– Canada: Artisan Wine Company, Mission Hill Family Estate
– Australia: Yalumba, Tyrrell’s, Vasse Felix
– South Africa: Obikwa
– New Zealand: Man O’War, Twin Islands, Pewsey Vale
– France: Maison Louis Latour, Henry Fessy, Simonnet Febvre, Lanson, Lucien Albrecht
– Italy: Antinori, Tenuta Sant’ Antonio, Col De Salici
– Germany: Gunderloch, Deinhard, Henkell
– Austria: Huber
– California: Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Terlato
– Washington: Long Shadows
– Chile: Santa Rita, Terra Andina
– Argentina: Dona Paula
– Spain & Portugal: Vega Sicilia, Manyana, Graham’s

With the sheer amount of wineries, and wines, it would be a short novel if I were to cover all the wines that I tasted. So I’ll give you my picks from this evening:

Brotte Vacqueyras “Bouvencourt” 2006 (France) $28.99. This is a Grenache / Syrah blend. Medium garnet with a bit of bricking. Caramel, and cherry on the nose.  Medium body and tannins. Caramel, apple, raspberry and cherry flavours.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Domaine Barville” 2004 (France) $31.48. A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend.  Medium garnet with some bricking in the glass. Light cherry aromas.  Very nice flavours of red ripe cherries and vanilla. Medium body with smooth tannins.

Louis Latour Marsannay Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $29.99. Light garnet in colour.  Lively raspberry fruit nose.  Oak, cherry, raspberry and currant flavours. Medium length.

Antinori Il Bruciato Bolgheri 2007 (Italy) $34.99.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Merlot and Syrah.  Opaque garnet with a black core in the glass. Pencil lead and black cherry nose.  Pencil lead, black ripe fruit, capsicum, and cherry flavours.  Smooth mouthfeel with medium tannins and medium length on the palate.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 (Italy) $46.99. Chianti for those that do not know is made with the Sangiovese grape. This wine was dark garnet in colour.  Oak, cassis, and cherry nose. Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and tannins with ripe black cherry flavour.

Monti Garbi Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2008 (Italy) $30.00.  Many Valpolicella are made from the grape varieties Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara. This wine is made with Corvina, Corvinone,  Rondinella, Croatina, and Oseleta.  This is one of my favourite wines of this tasting. Medium garnet in colour.  Nice aromas of cherries, caramel and a hint of spice.  Licorice and red cherries with spice on the palate.  Medium body / tannins,  smooth on the palate with medium length.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile) $19.99.  Santa Rita is one of my favorite wineries from Chile.  They have a range of very nice wines.  Wine & Spirits Magazine has awarded Santa Rita the Winery of the Year Award for 2010.  This is the first year I believe for this particular wine.  Medium garnet in colour. Juicy strawberry nose.  Lots of strawberry, raspberry and spice flavours with a bit of flowers and oranges too.  Lots of flavours happening in the glass.  Medium body.

Twin Islands Nautilus Pinot Noir 2008 (New Zealand) $39.99. New Zealand is well-known for their pinot noir wines.  This wine comes from the Marlborough region, which is also well known for Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine is light cherry in colour.  Nice raspberry nose. Medium body with low tannins.  Some minerality, red cherry and smokiness on the palate.

Vasse Felix Shiraz 2005 (Australia) $39.99.  Opaque garnet in colour.  Ripe, juicy black cherry nose.  Minerality, ripe black cherries, and a bit of spice.  The flavour of this wine keeps building it the more you keep aerating the wine in your mouth.  Very smooth.  A “wow” wine.

There were many more wines that could be listed.  I will be posting my tasting notes for all the wines I tried later on www.MyWinePal.com.  I hope you have a chance to purchase and try some of these wines that I recommended. Cheers.