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.

Wine for Father’s Day, June 19, 2011?

Father’s Day is coming up fast.  Do you know which wine you will be pouring for your dad?  For some of you, you already know what your dad likes, e.g. He only likes Australian Shiraz, so picking a bottle should not be too difficult.

For others, your dad does not have a favorite wine.  So how would you choose a wine?  One of the easiest ways to pick a wine is to pair the wine with the food you will be having with your father.  If you are going to have a BBQ beef or lamb, you may want to select a full bodied red or an oaked chardonnay.

Grilled salmon or chicken can pair with a light bodied red or a white wine.

A pasta with cream sauce would pair nicely with a red or white wine that has higher acidity to cut through the creaminess.

A pasta with tomato-based sauce classically pairs with a Sangiovese-based wine from Tuscany, Italy.

If you father is a vegetarian, consider the type of sauce that the food is cooked with.  Is it creamy, made from tomato?  This flavour will help you choose the appropriate wine.  You could use one of the pasta selections that I described.

Some MyWinePal Wine Suggestions:

D’Angelo Sette Coppa 2005, BC. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. It is primarily Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with lesser amounts of the other grape varieties. Light garnet in the glass. Tarry, cassis and black cherry aromas. Cassis, cherry, chocolate and vanilla on the palate with some spiciness. Medium length with firm tannins kicking in on the finish. Try with BBQ beef or lamb.

Casa Montes Bodegas & Vinedos, Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec 2006, Argentina. This wine is opaque purple in the glass. Dusty with black petter aromas. Full body with ripe black fruit and lots of spice. A BBQ wine for beef or lamb.

Township 7 Chardonnay 2008, BC is 100% barrel fermented and aged in French and American oak, giving it more body and some creaminess. Vanilla and apple aromas. With flavours of citrus oak and apples. Nice round mouthfeel with a slight bit of spiciness and a coconut finish. Try this with any BBQ meats or fish.

Another Chardonnay would be the Hope Family Wines, Liberty School Chardonnay 2007. This Chardonnay, from the Paso Robles area of California, has 5% Viognier in the mix. It is medium lemon in the glass. Pineapple, vanilla, and creamy nose. Medium body, with peach, apricot and honey flavours.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Chardonnay 2008 , Washington was very elegant.  This wine was medium golden in the glass. Vanilla, oak, lemon and apple aromas.  It was medium body with toasty, lemon and light spice on the palate.  Light acidity to complement the roundness of the wine.  Spice and lemon on the finish.  Would go nicely with some salmon.

Casas del Bosque Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2008, Chile. This wine spent 9 months in french oak. They like to use 2-3 year French oak barrels as much as possible for all their barrel aged wines so the oak is there, but not in your face. This one had a wide range of aromas. Strawberry, oak, red cherry, dill and mushroom at first, but then some vanilla on the nose. The wine was quite fruity. Lots of red cherry, but also some dill and vanilla. Quite smooth, medium length, and a dry finish. Try with BBQ salmon or chicken.

Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina “Basciano” 2007 DOCG, Italy. This wine is primarily Sangiovese but has 5% Colorino. Red delicious apple and cherry aromas and flavours.  Also vanilla and cherry on the palate.  Medium tannins with a dry finish. Try with a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005, Italy. 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. Try with a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Man O’War Vineyards Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc 2009, New Zealand. This wine was very light lemon in colour.  Herbal and jalapeno pepper aromas. High acidity with more jalapeno and herbal flavours.  Light body, but long length.  Very nice. Try with a cream-based pasta sauce.

La Frenz Andrew Vineyard Riesling 2009, BC, is light lemon in colour. Flowery and apple aromas. Good acidity with a bit of residual sugar. Red apple and citrus flavours. Elegant. Try with a cream-based pasta sauce.

Note if you can’t find these particular wines, find a similar wine, such as a replacement for the Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec could be the Bodegas Salentein Primum Malbec. If you feel unsure, ask someone who works in your wine shop.  They should be knowledgeable about the wines they carry.

Enjoy Fathers Day with your Dad.

MyWinePal’s Latest Wine Picks from the IVSA – April 2011

The Import Vintners and Spirits Association (IVSA) in Vancouver had their latest New Products Salon tasting of wine, beer and spirits this week.  This is a Trade only event, where wine industry people get a chance to sample, and order, new wine, beer, and spirits for their hotel, restaurant, wine shop, etc.  There are always more tables with wines for me to try than are possible within the short period of time, so hopefully with my peeking at tables as I pass by, I will stop at some that interest me, and hopefully you too.  What wines excited me from this event?

My Wine Picks

  • Bodegas Santa Cruz del Alpera Blanco Verdejo 2010 (Spain). This wine is a good buy at $12.99 and tastes great.  Something nice for this summer. This wine is made from 100% Verdejo grapes, fermented in stainless steel tanks on it’s lees for 2 months. Light lemon in colour. Very ripe peach nose. Medium body with good acidity, with some prickliness up front.  Very juicy apricots and peach flavours.  Round in the mouth with spice on the finish.
  • Giesen Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand).  A nice herbal and lime nose. Medium acidity with herbal and grassy flavours.  Long length.  Another nice wine for the summer.
  • Zuccardi Q Malbec 2009 (Argentina).  I’ve been enjoying the Zuccardi Q series of wines for several years, and looked forward to trying the latest vintage of their Malbec and was not disappointed. Deep purple in colour.  Jammy cassis and vanilla aromas. Full body with jammy dark fruit, vanilla, and fruit compote. Very rich flavour.  Smooth.  Give this one a try with some firm cheeses, a hearty stew, or some BBQ.
  • Lammershoek Roulette 2006 (South Africa). This is a premium  syrah-based blend, with Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier. Each of the different grapes are fermented separately and matured in French oak barrels for 12 months. The wine is blended a few weeks prior to bottling and is not fined or filtered. This wine has lots of ripe red fruit aromas.  Medium body with cassis, ripe cherries and other red fruits, and vanilla.  Dry finish with a long length.
  • Lammershoek Pinotage 2006 (South Africa). Pinotage is still not a widely recognized grape around the world, but can produce some very characterful wine.  This pinotage has character.  Bright purple in colour. Matchstick and cherry aromas. Ripe red fruits with firm tannins in the background.  Some tea leaves and cassis flavours too. Very nice.
  • Monowai Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2007 (New Zealand). Light garnet in colour.  Smoky, cherry, raspberry, and vanilla aromas. Light body with raspberry, cherries, cassis, smoky and spicy flavours.  Cherry, vanilla and spice on the finish.  Long length.
  • Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina “Basciano” 2007 DOCG (Italy). This wine is primarily Sangiovese but has 5% Colorino. Red delicious apple and cherry aromas and flavours.  Also vanilla and cherry on the palate.  Medium tannins with a dry finish.
  • Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba 2007 (Italy). This is a solid wine.  Medium garnet in colour.  Sandalwood and blueberry aromas. Nice flavours of blueberries, cherries and vanilla. Medium level of acidity to this wine.  If you have never tried Barbera before, consider this wine.
  • Croft Pink Port NV (Portugal). This is a FUN wine. Chill it a bit and sip it on the deck in the summer.  It’s called pink port because the wine is pink; it’s a rose port. Very pale cherry colour.  Fresh raspberry nose.  Really nice aroma. Medium sweetness with nutty, cherry, raspberry, and spice on the palate.  Round and rich!

Enjoy!

Would You Like Nice Bubble and More for Christmas?

Today is one of my favourite times of the year. The last Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) trade wine tasting typically has a lot of sparkling wine and other wines to taste in preparation for the Christmas season. I spent half of my time exclusively trying sparkling wines, and the other half of my time on white and red still wines. There was so much sparkling wine, that I could have easily spent my entire time tasting these wines.

As usual, I would like to pass along those wines that were very good in my opinion, so that you can purchase them either at a government or a private liquor store. Some are at a very good price (sub $20).

Recommended sparkling wines:
Pierre Paillard Grand Cru NV Brut (France). A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. This wine is light peachy pink in colour. Bread and cherry aromas. Light small bubbles with lemon, cherry and apple flavours. Bready, citrus finish. Very nice.

Codorniu Classico Brut NV (Spain) $13.99. Pale lemon in colour. Lemon, yeast and slight petrol aroma. Fine bubble. Off dry with crisp acidity. Lemon and apple flavours. Medium length.

Hungaria Grande Cuvee Brut (Hungary) on sale $12.95 during Dec 2010. This is a very easy drinking sparkling wine from Hungary. Pale lemon in colour. Lychee, crisp apple nose. Light bubble with medium length. Apple and lemon flavours with a herbal finish.

J.G. Carrion Cristalino Cava Rosado Brut (Spain) on sale till Jan 2, 2011, $13.99. A mix of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Trepeat. Pale cherry colour with a light cherry nose. Cherry and raspberry flavours. Small bubble. Dry with a cherry finish.

Perle d’Aurore Cremant de Bourgogne Rose NV (France) $on sale till Feb 27, 2011, $23.95. Light salmon colour in the glass. Strawberry aroma. Strawberry and cherry flavour. Small, aggressive bubble in our mouth. Off dry. Very good.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne NV (France) $59.99. Bread and citrus on the nose. Very fine, small bubble. Dry on the palate. Lemon, oak, and almond flavour. Long finish. A very elegant Champagne.

Recommended white wines:
Teira Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley 2009 (California). This is a small production organic wine producer. If you tasted this wine, you would not guess that it is a Sauvignon Blanc. You might guess Pinot Gris. This wine is medium lemon in colour. Peachy, lychee, and flowery aromas. Light to medium body, medium acidity with apple and some herbal flavour. Round mouth feel.

Kooyong Estate Chardonnay 2006 (Australia) $49.99. Light lemon colour. Oak, vanilla, butter and citrus on the nose. Round mouth feel. Apple, citrus and oak flavours. Medium body.

Trefethen Estate Chardonnay 2007 (California) $34.95. Light lemon with a green tinge colour. Light lemon, apple, and flowers on the nose. Round mouth feel with cinnamon flavour up front. Medium body. Apple and lemon flavours. Long length.

Recommended red wines:
Velletri Riserva 2004 (Italy), on sale till Nov 27, 2010, $17.99. This is a red wine from the Sangiovese grape. This may have been my favourite wine of the tasting, and it is at a great price. Medium cherry colour. An interesting nose with pencil leads and red cherries. Medium body, round mouth feel with smooth tannins.

Chanson Pere Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $26.52. Light cherry in colour.  Light strawberry and red cherry aromas.  Strawberry, raspberry, cherry and vanilla flavours.  Light body with low tannins. Very nice.

Chateau de Ferrand St. Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2003 (France) $39.99. This is a red wine from the right bank in Bordeaux.  It is a blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Medium light garnet in colour. Nice vanilla, and red cherry nose.  Medium body with vanilla, ripe red fruit flavours.  The flavour builds in your mouth.  A wonderful wine.

Montresor Capitel della Crosara Appassimento IGT 2006 (Italy) $24.99.  This is a “ripasso” style wine, which is made by reserving wine made during the recent vintage then placing this wine on the pressed grape skins and lees in the vats used for Amarone and allowed to ferment further in contact with those skins, to acquire additional body and flavour. This wine was medium to dark garnet coloured in the glass.  Red cherry and vanilla on the nose.  Lots of fruit flavours on the palate, particularly raspberries and black cherry.  Medium body.

Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red 2006 (California) $19.99.  This is a fun red wine, made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Medium purple colour.  Nice cherry and raspberry nose.  Full body with raspberry and black cherry flavours.  Firm tannins but not overpowering.  Purple fruit and cherry on the finish.

There were many more wines to taste, and I’m sure I could have recommended more.  You may notice that there are no BC wines listed.  The IVSA tasting is for new vintages, and new wines being brought into the BC market.  There are plenty of very good BC wines, but none were being poured at this event.  So please enjoy the wines I’ve listed, but don’t forget BC wines.

A Taste of LaStella Wines

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} catch(err) {}LaStella Winery is one of the new wineries in the Okanagan, opening it’s doors in May 2007. It has a sister winery, which you may have heard of called Le Vieux Pin. I was recently invited to a tasting of LaStella’s wines in Yaletown and was very impressed with their wines. LaStella operates their vineyards with a cross between organic and biodynamic practices. They also contract grapes from like minded, quality growers (which I will talk about shortly). They also take great care in the production of the wine, from hand-destemming grapes, to using whole berries for fermentation and using small open-top oak fermentors.

LaStella has both white, rose, and red wines. The two white wines I tried was the Leggiero Unoaked Chardonnay 2008 and the Vivace Pinot Grigio 2008. The Leggiero and Vivace grapes come from the Kalala vineyard. For those that have read my past posts, the Kalala Organic Winery in West Kelowna has produced some wonderful organic wines at a great price point. They also told me that they sell some of their grapes to other wineries. So I was VERY happy to see that LaStella is one of those wineries.

The Leggario had nice mango and pineapple aromas. It was medium body, with light acidity, lime and mineral flavours. The Vivace is a gorgeous, refreshing pinot grigio. It has a crisp citrus and pineapple nose. Good acidity, with pineapple, lime, and mineral flavours. Next I moved on to the Lastellina Rose 2008. This is a merlot based rose. It has a nice salmon colour and a ripe strawberry nose. It is medium bodied, with some spice (cinnamon), and strawberry flavour.

There were 3 reds to enjoy. I found out that the reds are all un-fined and un-filtered, which gives you the closest to a barrel sample experience as possible. The red first was the Allegretto Merlot 2006. It was medium garnet in colour. Ripe plums and light oak on the nose. Medium body and tannins, with black cherry flavours. Their premier wine that evening was the Maestoso Merlot 2006. This wine was deep garnet in colour. Ripe black fruit, cigar box and mocha nose. Ripe black fruit, cherries and mocha flavour, with a cherry finish. The tannins were very fine. This is an exceptional wine. Last but not least was the Fortisimo 2007. This wine will soon be bottled, so we were treated with a sneak taste of this wine. The Fortisimo is a Bordeaux blend, with approximately 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. This wine had a very complex nose and aroma. I unfortunately did not take detailed notes on this wine, but it had many flavour dimensions and a long finish.

What’s upcoming for LaStella? I heard that they have Sangiovese grapes planted and will be harvesting them to blend with other red varietals to offer their first “Super Tuscan“. I joked that maybe it should be a “Super Okanagan“. Either way, I look forward to trying this wine. Enjoy!