Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Long Shadows Duo Showcase Katy Business Dinner

Long Shadows Vintners Collection Duo - Pirouette and Pedestal Showcase Katy Business Dinner

Traveling to Katy (Tx) for a team and partner meeting, we dined at The Cellar Door for a partner teaming dinner. We selected the venue based on their menu, wine selection, and ambiance and atmosphere suitable for a secluded business dinner. What we took for granted and didn't account for was slow, inattentive and bordering on inept service.

The site was ideal for our dinner discussions, the soup and salads were excellent and the menu selection options were ideal. The winelist offered an ideal imaginative and well assembled selection to accompany our dinner entrees.

The evening would have been perfect if we could have gotten basic table services - water refills, timely food delivery, and coordinated serving of the food with wine service to accompany our food selections.

Our first choice from the wine list was not available. Secondarily then, for the steak entrees I ordered a couple wines from the Long Shadows Vintners Collection - Pirouette and Pedestal.

I've written in these pages about Long Shadows and their collection of notable legendary winemakers selected to produce a signature wine sourced from Washington State vineyards.

Long Shadows Vintners Collection Pirouette 2016

The 2016 Pirouette is made by Philippe Melka, named one of the top nine winemakers in the world by Robert Parker, selected to produce this signature label for the Winemakers Collection.

We have long been fans of  Philippe Melka and his signature labels Matisse and 'CJ', named for his children.

While we had owned the various labels over the years, we really discovered Long Shadows at the Long Shadows Wine Cellars tasting room during our Woodinville Wine Experience. We joined their club and have been taking regular shipments of the collection ever since. They provide remarkable wines at great value relative QPR.

Philippe Melka, widely recognized as one of the leading craftsmen of his trade, graduated from the University of Bordeaux, France, where he received a degree in geology in 1989.  After taking a course in Terroir and Viticulture, he aspired to become a winemaker. After earning a second degree in Agronomy and Enology, he applied what he learned working at prestigious wineries in Australia, Italy, California and France, including some of the world's most revered producers, Petrus, Haut Brion and Dominus, among others.

In Napa Valley, Melka honed his craft while contributing to the production of several highly acclaimed wines from a number of the most elite estates including Marston, Seavey, Constant, Lail, Bryant Family, Caldwell, Quintessa, Hundred Acre, and Vineyard 29.

Today, Philippe Melka and his wife, Cherie, reside at Melka Cellars in Napa Valley. Cherie is an accomplished wine professional and laboratory manager at Silver Oak.

Long Shadows Pirouette, crafted by Melka, is a Bordeaux Style Red Blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec, sourced from leading vineyards in Columbia Valley in Central Washington State.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is from Red Mountain Vineyards, manifested in this wine in the structure and textured richness characterized by the grapes from this acclaimed growing region. From the Dionysus Vineyard, Petit Verdot adds layers of complex aromas and flavors. The remainder of the blend is from select Wahluke Slope vineyards. The Merlot brings juicy richness to the finished wine; Cabernet Franc adds a hint of earthiness; and Malbec contributes appealing spice and beautiful color.

Critic Jeb Dunnuck gave the 2016 Pirouette 97 Points calling it "a total blockbuster, .... deep, rich, opulent red that has sweet tannins, a thrilling texture, no hard edges, and a monster finish. This is another best-to-date from this estate and it's an awesome wine." 

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, elegantly polished, smoothly textured, a symphony of finely integrated layers of ripe blackberry and black cherry accented by notes of dark chocolate, cassis, spice and a nice complement of oak with silky tannins and soft mouthfeel on a lingering vibrant finish.
RM 94 points. 

For our second wine of the evening, I selected another Bordeaux varietal from the Long Shadows Vintners Collection, Pedestal Merlot.

Long Shadows Vintners Collection Pedestal Columbia Valley Merlot 2014

Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot is crafted by Michel Rolland , considered to be one of the most influential winemakers in the world.  A graduate of the esteemed Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology, he operates out of his laboratory in Pomerol, France and consults for over 100 vintners and vineyards worldwide, producing wines with an alluring style recognized as the “Rolland Method”.

Rolland has partnership interests around the globe, including his involvement with Long Shadows Vintners.  From his home in Pomerol in the Bordeaux region, he owns and manages a number of holdings and fine wine estates including Chateau Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol, Chateau Bertineau Saint-Vincent in Lalande-de-Pomerol, Chateau Rolland-Maillet in Saint-Emilion, and Chateau Fontenil in Fronsac.  In addition, Michel manages the Chateau La Grande Clottee in Lussac-Saint-Emilion under a vineyard lease system.

The 2014 Pedestal is a Bordeaux Blend of 81% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. The blend consists of equal parts Merlot from three distinct vineyards from Washington State Columbia Valley: Conner Lee Vineyard brings dark cherry flavors; Dionysus Vineyard adds to the wine’s elegant mouthfeel and deep color; The Benches Vineyard Merlot contributes refined texture. Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from Taptiel Vineyard gives the wine its richness and structure. Weinbau Cabernet Franc provides an added layer of complexity and character.

The 2014 Pedestal was awarded 95 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and 92 points by Stephen Tanzer.

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, it has concentrated ripe blackberry and black currant fruit flavors with subtle notes of floral, spice, mocha and hints of tobacco and anise with moderate tannins on the smooth soft velvety finish.

RM 91 points.

For a finale we ordered this SA Cabernet Franc to close out the courses.

Achával Ferrer Mendoza Cabernet Franc 2015 

This is a single-variety blend from different regions, combining the essence of Luján de Cuyo, Medrano and and Tupungato in the Uco Valley, with a small percentage from Perdriel. It aged for one year in used French oak barrels.

Deep ruby color. Aromas of black cherries, juicy plums, along with tobacco leaf, menthol, sweet roses, coffee and cedar. Impressive structure on the palate, full-bodied and velvety but grip on the tannins, medium acidity. Black cherries and crunchy plum fruit mixes well with cocoa, coffee, spiced black tea, tobacco. Complexity and depth is impressive, but this is still an accessible and friendly wine.

Garnet colored, medium bodied, bright black fruits, notes of tobacco leaf, olive, black tea, coffee and hint of pepper  with lively acidity and fine tannins.

RM 88 points.

It was Rated 90 by Wine Advocate