Sunday, March 10, 2024

Long Shadows Chester Kidder with Filet of Beef

Long Shadows Chester Kidder with Filet of Beef

Intimate Saturday night dinner at home, we grilled filets of beef and served with wedge salad, fresh toasted bread, baked potatoes and mixed vegetables.

Seeking a Goldilocks wine - not too old, not too young, and a perfect accompaniment to grilled beefsteak, I pulled from the cellar a Bordeaux varietal blend from Long Shadows Vintners Collection.

As is so often the case, this is a replay of an earlier similarly situated tasting, hence I’ll replay it here. 

Long Shadows Chester Kidder with Beef Tenderloin

Long Shadows Chester Kidder with Beef Tenderloin

For a beef tenderloin dinner, I pulled from the cellar this premium Washington State Cabernet as an accompaniment. 

This is from Long Shadows collection which I I have featured often in these pages, Long Shadows Cellars 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 with fruit sourced from there. 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.

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. Gilles crafts 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. 

Nilles Nicault has served as director of winemaking and viticulture since Long Shadows inception in 2003. As resident winemaker overseeing daily operations at Long Shadows' state-of-the-art winery in Walla Walla, Gilles works with a group of celebrated vintners from around the globe. It is his job to ensure that each winemaker's vision is realized in the vineyard and the cellar.

While many winemakers would find this proposition a daunting task, French-born Nicault describes the position as his "dream job." Those who know Gilles best say it is his insatiable curiosity and desire to learn something new every day as well as his winemaking skills that make him uniquely qualified for the position. In addition to executing daily operations at the winery, Gilles is the winemaker for Long Shadows' acclaimed Chester-Kidder, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah blend that carries his signature.

Gilles grew up in southern France and graduated from the University of Avignon with a degree in Viticulture and Enology. He honed his craft in the fabled hillside vineyards and wineries of Cotes Du Rhone, Provence and Champagne. On 1994, already a vintner of rising fame in his homeland, Gilles traveled to Washington State to expand his winemaking skills.

Impressed by Washtington State's vineyards and the opportunity to be part of a growing wine community, he stayed in the Columbia Valley, working for Staton Hills and Hogue Cellars before joining Woodward Canyon in 1996, where he stayed until moving to Long Shadows in June 2003. Sharing Woodward Canyon's passion for world-class wine, Gilles soon found Woodward Canyon's founder Rick Small was his ideal mentor and biggest champion. In 1999, Woodward Canyon named Gilles head of enology and production.

Gilles is married to winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla of Forgeron Cellars, also an acclaimed winemaker. The couple wilves in Walla Walla with their two children.

Allen Shoup 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 is one of six distinct red wines from Long Shadows Vintners - a collection of ultra-premium wines, each built on the unique expertise of some of the world’s most knowledgeable winemakers to showcase the quality and caliber of Washington State’s Columbia Valley. 

Long Shadows "Chester-Kidder" Columbia Valley Red Blend 2015

The 2015 Vintage of Chester-Kidder is a red varietal blend composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Syrah and 15% Petit Verdot, sourced from the Columbia Valley Appellation. It is styled to capture the complexity of the growing region, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes from Candy Mountain give the wine its firm structure and wonderful intensity. Walla Walla Valley vineyards contribute Cabernet that adds depth and rich textures.  Petit Verdot sourced from Sagemoor Vineyards provides layers of ripe, fresh flavors and refined tannins. This release is aged for an average of 30 months in tight-grained French oak which allows the fruit to fully integrate prior to bottling.

We wrote about this wine earlier this year in this blogpost - Long Shadows Chester Kidder

The 2015 CHESTER-KIDDER was awarded 94 points by Jeb Dunnuck, 93 points by Wine Advocate and 92 points by Vinous.

This was bright garnet/ruby colored, medium to full bodied with a complex rich round core blackberry, black raspberry and red currant fruits with notes of licorice, savory spices, dark mocha chocolate and hints of graphite and earth, ending with a long and complex finish with gripping tannins.

RM 92 points.