Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Long Shadows winery in Woodinville. The story behind Long Shadows is pretty epic. Roughly 10 years ago, one of the more famous people in Washington wine, the former Chateau St. Michelle CEO, Alan Schoup, came up with a brilliant idea. Schoup decided to take the best winemakers in the world and have them make wines by using Columbia Valley grapes. Shoup bought some choice vineyard land in Columbia Valley and assembled an incredible dream team of winemakers.
Shoup chose Armin Diehl of Schlossgut Diel from the Mosel region of Germany to make a Riesling. Diel's Riselings are some of the best in the world. The Riesling he makes for Long Shadows is called Poet's Leap.
He also chose the Folonari family from Tuscany to make a Super Tuscan (Sangiovese, Cab, Merlot and Syrah) called Saggi. The Folonaris have been making wine in Tuscany since the 1700s!
Augustin Huneeus and Philipe Melka was chosen to make a Bordeaux blend, Pirouette. They are both known for being a winemakers (and Huneeus is the owner) at the esteemed Quintessa Winery in Napa.
Schoup chose probably the most famous winemaker of Syrah in the world. John Duvall is known for making Penfolds Grange, a wine that has achieved 100 points by Robert Parker. Duvall's wine is called Sequel and it is a rich and inky Syrah and arguably the best Washington Syrah for the price.
Michel Rolland, possibly the world's most famous wine consultant, was chosen to make a Merlot blend called Pedestal. This wine is one of the best Merlots made in Washington and can age for 10 or more years.
Randy Dunn, owner of Dunn Vineyards and formerly a winemaker at Caymus Winery, creates the Cabernet called Feather. Feather is a softer style of Cabernet that many years can be drunk rather young.
The director of winemaking is Giles Nicault, who has a great deal of experience in making Washington wines. Nicault was formerly a winemaker at Hogue Cellars and Woodward Canyon Winery, before moving to Long Shadows. Nicault crafts the Chester-Kidder red blend, which is primarily a Cabernet and Syrah blend.
Long Shadows Winery is so good that it deserves a lengthy introduction. Here are the fantastic and innovative wines that I tried:
2013 Poet's Leap- Herbal nose with orange blossom. Palate is dry with orange, lemon-lime and Japanese pear. Refreshing but slightly behind other vintages. Drink now. -90
2011 Saggi- Sangiovese blend with perfumed roses and red cherry on the nose with a little oak. Palate is plush and open. 45% Sangiovese and 43% Cabernet with the rest Syrah. Ripe raspberry, chocolate, coffee and white pepper. Tannins have already dissipated. Drink now. -92
2010 Sequel- Inky color with smoked meats, tar and bacon fat on the nose. Palate is rich with blueberry, blackberry and anise with black pepper. Finishes long. Drink now or hold for 1-2 years. -93
2010 Chester Kidder- Blackberry and red cherry with oak on the nose. Palate has some tannins. I get black cherry, anise, black olive and chocolate. Drinking good now but could be cellared for 1-2 years. -91
2011 Pirouette- 53% Cabernet and 25% Merit with the rest other Bordeaux varietals. Somewhat closed on the nose with blackberry and cigar box. Palate is surprisingly open with blackberry, blueberry, creme de cassis and cedar. Nice balance and lightly tannic. Drink now or cellar for 1-2 years. -92
2011 Pedestal- Ripe raspberry, red cherry, oak and vanilla on the nose. Palate is plush but the fruit hasn't fully integrated. Red cherry, raspberry and oak. Needs 2+ years of cellaring. -92
2011 Feather- Cassis and blackberry with smoke on the nose. Palate is rich and remarkably smooth. Blackberry, black cherry, black olive, red bell pepper and vanilla with fine grained tannins. Delicious and complex. Drink now or cellar for 1-2 years. Great effort for the vintage. -93