Saturday, October 19, 2019

Long Shadows Chester-Kidder 2016

Long Shadows Winery Chester-Kidder Red Blend 2016

Just received my wine club allocation which included this label and the 2016 Pedestal Merlot. We discovered and signed up for this during our Washington Wine Experience when we visited the winery tasting room in Woodinville last fall.

Another note and point of interest of these wines is a personal family connection. As I wrote in our blogpost during our Washington Wine, Seattle Wine and Culinary Experience, a subplot to the story is that our niece Anna Long, married last fall into the Van Hoed family, farmers, wine growers, viticulturists and winemakers from the famed Walula Vineyards in the Columbia River wine region. Her great uncle-in-law, is Andy Den Hoed who manages some of the vineyards for Long Shadows wines.

As I wrote in this blogpost at the time, Long Shadows was the creation of Allan Shoup, leader of Chateau St Michelle from 1983 to 2000. There he introduced Washington State grapes to winemakers from around the world in collaboration to produce quality wines. 

After retirement from Chateau St Michelle Shoup founded Long Shadows to produce world class ultra-premium wines in Washington. He built a state of the art winery in Walla Walla and recruited a team of legendary producers to craft signature wines from the best vineyards' fruit from the Washington Columbia Valley. Three years into the new venture Long Shadows was awarded the Winery of the Year by Food and Wine Magazine. 

Shoup recruited a top winemaker with expertise and a track record producing best in class wine in each category or type of wine based on varietal grape. Marketed under the Vintners Collection, each of the Long Shadows labels in a testament to the legend of the winemaker for each label based on each varietal. Talented winemaker Gilles Nicault manages the estate and all its different cuvées in collaboration and with consulting advice from a selected world class winemakers for each label.

Allen Shoup named this wine in honor of his mother, Elizabeth Chester, and his grandmother, Maggie Kidder. Long Shadows' director of winemaking and viticulture, Gilles Nicault, crafts this New World blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and other classic Bordeaux varieties.

Long Shadows Winery Chester-Kidder Red Blend 2016

This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (58%), Syrah (30%), and 12% Petit Verdot. The Cabernet and Syrah fruit is sourced from Washington State Columbia Valley Red Mountain and Candy Mountain vineyards to which the winemaker attributes firm structure and intensity; from the Stone Tree Vineyard on Wahluka Slope adds red fruit characteristics, and a small selection of the Petiti Verdot is from the Dionysus Vineyard which adds layers of ripe flavors and tannins.

As noted above, distant cousin in laws Den Hoed's manage some of the vineyards for Long Shadow's wines.

Winemaker notes for this 2016 release: "The vintage was another hot growing season that required extra care in the vineyards. Building on the success of our canopy management program over the last few vintages, we worked with growers throughout the season to encourage growth of the canes and outside foliage to protect against the sun while opening up the fruit zone for even maturation. Warm temperatures in the fall hastened ripening, while the Columbia Valley’s cool autumn nights protected the grapes’ acidity resulting in rich, concentrated wines.'

"Select Cabernet Sauvignon lots underwent an extended maceration of 40 days to produce intense color, flavor and firm tannins that stand up to 30 months of barrel-aging in tight-grained French oak barrels (80% new). The extended barrel-aging helps to both enhance the wine’s rich mouthfeel as well as integrate the fruit and oak. The result is a supple, layered winethat drinks well on release but also rewards time in the cellar."

JAMES SUCKLING gave this 94 points and wrote:  Inky in color and brimming with layered aromas and flavors of black cherries, baking spice and a subtle earthiness, the 2016 Chester-Kidder offers an impressive concentration of refined tannins and a lively mouthfeel.  Wonderfully rich and well-balanced, the wine gains fullness across the mid-palate and leaves a vibrant impression on the finish.

Contrary to James Suckling's note, I found this dark garnet colored, medium to full-bodied, complex, and layered, but slightly disjointed as if the boldness of the Syrah was competing for attention with the firm structured Cabernet Sauvignon. I suspect that with some time in bottle this will settle and become more balanced and harmonious. The Syrah predominance showed a layer of sweet red fruits, accented by notes of spice, tobacco leaf, smokey sweet oak and smooth tannins on the lingering finish. 
RM 91 points.