What’s Hot in WA?

Highlights from 8 winery visits in Washington




Long Shadows

If any winery embodies the spirit and essence of Washington State it has to be Long Shadows. Founded in 2003 by Chateau Ste. Michelle’s former CEO and President Allen Shoup, Long Shadows unites the finest fruit in the state and some of the finest winemakers from around the globe. It’s all about collaboration, interpretation, and capturing the essence of the region’s finest vineyards. Partnerships include:

Armin Diel of Germany's Schlossgut Diel producing Riesling.

Randy Dunn of Napa's Dunn Vineyards producing Feather.

John Duval formerly of Penfolds and famous as the winemaker of grange Hermitage producing Sequel.

Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari producing Saggi.

Philippe Melka  and Agustin Huneeus Sr. producing Pirouette.

Michel Rolland producing Pedestal.

Gilles Nicault, formerly of Woodward Canyon producing Chester - Kidder the most distinct and arguably most representative of all the Long Shadows wines.

This is a really impressive set of wines, each unique yet offering a glimpse of what Washington is all about. With a tasting room in Woodinville and a winery in Walla Walla it is easy to include tasting these wines in any trip that might bring you to Washington state, and I strongly suggest that you do.

2012 Long Shadows Poets Leap Riesling Columbia valley 12.9% $20

12.5 grams per liter residual sugar

Gorgeous aromatics, all lime zesty and  spicy with herbal nuance greet the nose over creamy lemon pith with a hint almost cinnamon spice.  A bit sweet early on the palate with nicely integrated acids. This is a little dusty on the palate showing early signs of strawberry fruit that turns more creamy and sweet with citrus and apricot notes on the backend before finishing with some dusty astringency. A nice juxtaposition of sweet and dry, this comes of as just a bit rustic but with lovely complexity. 89pts

2010 Long Shadows Saggi Columbia Valley 14.9% $45

53% Sangiovese, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Syrah

Fine white chocolate and herb inflected nose shows some lovely red cherry fruit, bit of cherry pit and a hint of black olive and lipstick. Opening with a nice blend of acid and richness in the mouth, this is bright and shows a lovely austere edge to the red currant and raspberry fruit with a hint of mushroom emerging on the midpalate. Theres some wood tannin here adding a bit of power and sweetness to the backend and through the finish. Ripe yet fairly elegant this delivers  lots of tart cherry and red currant fruit but is a bit simple showing a touch of heat and assertive tannins on the finish. 90pts

2010 Long Shadows Chester Kidder Columbia Valley 15.1% $50

67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot

Dark fruit rich with aromas of candied blueberry, roasted meats, and roasted herbs is intense and complex on the nose showing rather high toned details. While rather soft on entry, this is wide open and rich in the mouth with red and black cherry fruit and super fine tannins. Texturally this fills the mouth, gaining subtle black pepper and roast meat nuance and the backend with the tannins add a little cut on the finish. This sticks to your gums, rich but low key fruit, long, and savory, I’m loving this in all it’s chewy, rich glory. 92pts

2011 Long Shadows Pirouette Columbia Valley 14.9% $55

53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec14.9% $55

Plummy and very low key on the nose, which shows some violet and green herb with pencil lead nuance over black berry fruit. Soft, rich and caressing in the mouth, this is packed with fruit, soft tannins, and integrated acids. It’s a plump wine but one that reveal complex, layered flavors of wild plum, wild berry fruit, rosemary, and a hint of bitter cocoa on the palate.  The finish reveals a fair amount of heat and wood spice here along with tannins that are quite firm. This seems to be a bit disjointed today as the tannins and alcohol both become more pronounced in the mouth. This might just need more time but it doesn’t seem to have the innate balance of many of the other wines. 89pts

2011 Long Shadows Pedestal 14.9% $60

87% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot

Classic Merlot on the nose, decidedly plummy with streaks of chocolate, herb, and toasty, creme brûlée oak. Soft and large scaled on entry, there's plenty of tannin and acid serving as structure here but the fruit somehow doesn't manage to cover everything, the tannins in particular stick out on the dry, slightly austere finish though this does show lots of cocoa flavor on the backend, but the finish is short and dry and wood driven, showing a little black spice and a little black currant fruit, fairly oaky chunky and inelegant. Maybe this also just needs time but it’s underwhelming in the mouth today. 88pts

2010 Long Shadows Sequel 14.8% $50

93% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon

Stemmy, gamy, and a little minty on the intense and savory nose that is fairly medicinal, and quite peppery. Rich and soft on entry with lots of acid lending brightness. The fruit here is bright and juicy, more so than the nose would suggest with crushed boysenberry and blackberry fruit, and a bit of a floral accent arriving late on the palate. This gains some camphor on the nose, and lots of lovely soft tannins, lovely detail and tension in the mouth. There’s nice touch of mineral firmness on the long finish which shows lovely, pure raspberry and boysenberry fruit. 93pts

2011 Long Shadows Feather Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 14.2% $50

Light on the nose, smoky and herbal, with candied herb, toasty oak, and lots of dill layered over small spiced red berry fruit. A bit gamy on entry, fairly open and certainly broad in the mouth with rich, chewy yet soft tannins and integrated acids. The fruit tends to the red end of the spectrum, earthy and slightly forest floor accented with a little creamy texture and creamy oak spice adding complexity.  A bit of tobacco creeps  in on the backend along with cinnamon spice as the tannins build on the palate. This is well balanced and round, though with plenty structure for aging, though it’s already quite delicious.  92pts  

2013 Long Shadows Julia's  Dazzle Pinot Gris Rose $16

Made with a dash of Sangiovese

Lovely on the nose full of fleshy fruit, a bit of stemmy freshness, pears and white peach A bit of rs sweetness the palate really accents the fruit here which is round and juicy, filled with peaches and pears with a hint of red cherry/currant fruit. Big, juicy and bright this is a round, exuberant rose with just a whisper of tannins adding some textural interest on the palate. When chilled it will seem drier but this will prove very popular over the coming summer months. 87pts

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Comments

  • Snooth User: sgVA
    1300081 27

    Wow! No mention in this three part article about Charles Smith and his wines! This leaves this article woefully incomplete in my opinion. Perhaps Charles is/was less accommodating during your tour than others? That does not excuse a complete omission of his various wines and brands including Chateau Smith, Magnificent Wine Company, K Vinters and Steak House. He makes a great cabernet and his Syrahs consistently receive high 90's in publications including the Wine Spectator. Robert Parker is a fan, too. Shame on you!

    Mar 06, 2014 at 1:36 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 205,699


    How about Leonetti? L'Ecole? Quilceda Creek? Kiona? Porteous? Bernard Griffin? My missing any of those get your dander up? All historically more important than Charles Smith, whom I did not contact on this trip, though not out of any fear that he might be less accommodating. Simply put I included a set of wineries that I am familiar with or in some way are important to the Washington wine scene for this very brief trip I'm not saying Charles isn't important, but when you have but a few days in a region you're not going to hit every significant winery, and while I could have added two additional visits a day, is that what you really want? Massive numbers of wines tasted in minutes without any actual time spent learning about the wines/wineries/people? If so there is plenty of that out there for you. I would suggest you stick with the Wine Advocate.

    As for me, yes I will miss the obvious sometimes, but I think it's better to have an incomplete report on Washington state wines that affords me the background to write somewhat intelligently on the topic as opposed to a more comprehensive set of robo-written tasting notes.

    Having said all that, I will be sure to schedule a visit with Charles Smith upon my return to Washington. As well as some of the other wineries mentioned above, as well as Swiftwater Cellars, which was mentioned in a comment on the previous Washington article as an up and coming winner worthy of attention.

    Thanks for pointing out my omission.

    Mar 06, 2014 at 2:17 PM


  • Snooth User: sgVA
    1300081 27

    Wow, I seem to have struck a nerve there! Geez, chill out! I was simply pointing out my disappointment, perhaps too enthusiastically, that Charles Smith's wines were not mentioned in an article I thought surely would include mention of this big personality with an equally big reputation for producing outstanding wines. And he's only been in the wine business since 1999 so certainly a noteworthy addition to the Washington State wine industry. I discovered Charles Smith cabernets about a year ago and prefer it to the majority of California Cabs. But that's just me. I don't know Charles and have no hidden agenda asking why his wines were not included in this brief survey/visit to Washington State. And thanks for the childish comment that I stick with the Wine Advocate which I'll point out I've never read (or seen). So, sorry if I got your dander up with my comments. When I eagerly read your three part article, I presumed from the beginning that you were covering all the major and, up-and-coming Wash State wine players. Not being the seasoned expert on wines that you are, I had no idea there were so many noteworthy wineries in Wash State nor how comprehensive such an undertaking would have been. Maybe you could have pointed that out in one of the articles that this was a brief survey of a smattering of noteworthy wineries for some of us neophytes. Nevertheless, your tasting notes were great and I enjoyed the three installments.

    Mar 06, 2014 at 2:56 PM


  • Snooth User: emmagramma
    422865 27

    Next trip you must try Owen Roe. It's an all time favorite.

    Mar 06, 2014 at 2:58 PM


  • Snooth User: dondub
    882230 2

    Gregory,

    You should have visited every winery in Washington! ;>)

    But I am appreciative of this great effort. Another up and comer is Kestral, and DeLille is awesome too.

    So many wines....so little time.

    Thanks...Don

    Mar 06, 2014 at 3:06 PM


  • Snooth User: Zuiko
    Hand of Snooth
    540750 757

    I was hoping Snooth would be a pleasant place to visit, without the condescension and quid pro quo of many online forums. Personal attacks are not a good thing.

    Good information GDP.

    Mar 06, 2014 at 5:04 PM


  • Snooth User: Labby
    1374876 19

    At Prosser village, my sister insisted we try Thomas Wolfe. We loved everything we tried. Living in Maryland, the closest availability is in Virginia but worth the drive. Big big fan.

    Mar 06, 2014 at 5:43 PM


  • Snooth User: dondub
    882230 2

    If anyone needs to chill their wine here it's sgVA. Gregory deftly responded to his/her rant with a measured response and the reply that he would catch up to Charles Smith wines next time. The referral to the Wine Advocate wasn't childish at all, but a simple suggestion.

    In the meantime, let's hope Charles' wines can approach the level of others mentioned before Gregory gets there, or we could be in for another rant. They have a ways to go...

    Mar 06, 2014 at 7:26 PM


  • Snooth User: Lucha Vino
    Hand of Snooth
    249612 83,159

    I would agree with everything dondub said above. It is great to see some Washington coverage on Snooth. My only disappointment is that Greg did not invite me to come along for the visits!

    Mar 12, 2014 at 1:11 AM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,142

    Geez, I've been out of touch for a little while and just checked up on Ste. Michelle. Seems they've been busy, busy:

    "Ste. Michelle’s Washington portfolio includes Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Northstar, Spring Valley Vineyard, Col Solare, Michelle sparkling wines, Red Diamond, and Snoqualmie. The company also owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (with Italy’s Antinori family), Conn Creek and Villa Mt. Eden in the Napa Valley of California, and Erath, in Dundee, Oregon. In 2006, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates became the exclusive U.S. importer for the acclaimed Marchesi Antinori wine portfolio of Italy and Chile’s Haras wines, for Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte of France in 2009, and for New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate in 2010."

    Mar 12, 2014 at 8:51 PM


  • Snooth User: kaged27
    748218 66

    Fantastic article. I'm disappointed a WA wine fan felt the need to criticize you for leaving out Charles Smith. Yes the wines are good but he's hardly the only good juice maker in WA. My personal recommendations for your next visit would be Reynvaan and Abeja in Walla Walla. Hope you enjoy your visit(s).

    Mar 25, 2014 at 12:46 AM


  • Snooth User: kaged27
    748218 66

    Just saw your review of Abeja in the other article. Well done.

    Mar 25, 2014 at 12:58 AM


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