Thursday, February 23, 2023

Long Shadows Chester Kidder

 Long Shadows Chester Kidder with grilled beefsteak dinner - Tribute to Founder Allan Shoup

We grilled out beefsteaks served with asparagus, buttered baked potatoes and wedge salad. To accompany the dinner I pulled from the cellar this special bottling, Chester Kidder Columbia Valley Red Bordeaux Blend from the Long Shadows Collection

I written often in these pages about Long Shadows Cellars that feature world class winemakers and Columbia Valley fruit. 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 he 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. 
Allen took inspiration for Long Shadows from his good friend and mentor Robert Mondavi, whose Opus One collaboration with Baron Philippe de Rothschild helped establish the prestige of Napa Valley. Inspired by the idea of international partnerships and fortunate to enjoy industry friendships around the  globe, Allen envisioned a the collaborative alliances to highlight the quality and diversity of Washington vineyards that lead to recruiting the dream team of winemakers.
Since the beginning, Long Shadows' Director of Winemaking and Viticulture Gilles Nicault, has overseen the operations of the winery and worked closely with the vintners to bring each winemaker’s vision to completion. Internationally renowned winemakers Randy Dunn (Feather Cabernet Sauvignon); John Duval (Sequel Syrah); Philippe Melka (Pirouette Red Wine); and Michel Rolland (Pedestal Merlot) are active partners in their respective wines. Gilles now crafts Poet’s Leap Riesling and Saggi, a Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, in styles that remain true to their original winemakers, Armin Diel and Giovanni Folonari respectively and this label, Chester-Kidder, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend, independently.

Gilles works closely with the state’s top growers to execute a diverse winemaking protocol at Long Shadows’ state-of-the-art facility in Walla Walla to produce wines of exceptional quality, true to the Columbia Valley’s terroir.

In researching Long Shadows for this blogpost I just learned that Allan Shoup recently passed this pas November. He is memorialized in a tribute on the Long Shadows website, “It is impossible to overstate the impact Allen had on Washington wine. If there were a Mount Rushmore of Washington wine, his face would be on it. His accomplishments will continue to impact this industry long after we are all gone." - Sean Sullivan, NW Wine Report.
Allen Shoup created this label and named this wine in honor of his mother, Elizabeth Chester, and his grandmother, Maggie Kidder. He selected Long Shadows' Director of Winemaking and Viticulture, Gilles Nicault, to craft this New World blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and other classic Bordeaux varieties.

Chester Kidder Columbia Valley Red Bordeaux Blend 2016

This is a unique blend that is crafted and styled to capture the complexity of the growing region, Chester-Kidder is aged for an average of 30 months in tight-grained French oak which allows the fruit to fully integrate prior to bottling. 

Since discovering Long Shadows Cellars and joining their club, we've acquired a vertical collection of a half dozen vintages of this label and are now being rewarded for collecting and holding these bottles.  

Tonight, after four years of aging, this was much better behaved, more approachable, seamless and well integrated than and last encounter in 2019 when I wrote: "I like this wine: 91 Points - 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."

 Winemaker Notes: 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.

This is an interesting, enticing blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, and 12% Petit Verdot resulting in a style and profile that we love.

This was delicious and a perfect complement to the grilled beefsteak dinner. 

This label release was awarded 94 points by Jeb Dunnuck and James Suckling, 92+ points by Wine Advocate and 90 points by Wine Enthusiast Sean Sullivan.

Dark blackish inky purple, full bodied, powerful, dense/rich, yet nicely balanced, ripe layered dark berry fruits are accented by spicy oak, flavors of bitter dark chocolate, dark currants and cassis with silky mouthfeel and firm tannins lingering with a long, drawn-out finish.

RM 93 points.