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WTN: at the Long Shadows Tasting Room

by Jenise » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:59 pm

Visited the Long Shadows tasting room in Woodinville the other day. In addition to their own wines, they were pouring Boudreaux and two wines made for the owners of the vineyards both wineries source most of their grapes from, called Den Hoed. Described in reverse order, complete with points cuz that's how I keep track of what really worked and what didn't, from last to first:


2008 Den Hoed Cabernet Sauvignon Andreas Wallula Vineyard
Very concentrated, cab-driven wine; blackberry, black cherry and tons of cedar. Very American vs. the sister wine's (Marie's View) European-ness and therefore my least favorite of the two but otherwise second best wine of the day. Made by Gilles Nicault (who makes all the Long Shadows wines) Really impressive. 150 cases made. 94 pts. $80.

2008 Den Hoed Marie's View Wallula Vineyard
Made by Rob Newsom (Boudreaux). Blend of Cab, Mer, PV, CF, Syrah and Sangiovese. Exquisite blend, super complex with great depth, concentration and perfume. Until these two wines were poured, I was concerned that I was being overly critical of the other wines. One sip of this and I knew: not so. Only 150 cases made. 94 pts. $80. Insanely priced, but I bought two bottles anyway.

2011 Long Shadows Wineries Cabernet Sauvignon Feather
Long Shadows Tasting Room. Blackberries, mushrooms and faint foresty flavors. A bit monochromatic and drying, so much so that I'm actually surprised that they're pouring it last as it disappoints more here than it would have earlier. Maybe this bottle's been open too long? $60. 87 pts.

2010 Long Shadows Wineries Syrah Sequel
Some Sequels have tasted, quite unfortunately, like copycat McClaren Vale Shirazes--not unpleasant by any means, but why all the malt, but hey, this is Washington. Well, here's a real Washington syrah, classic clean syrah flavors of raspberry and violets with a minor lactic note. Very good, but there are better WA syrahs for less money around. $50 90 pts.

2011 Long Shadows Wineries Pedestal
Thinner than any other Pedestal I've had and lacking Rolland's characteristic largesse. Some berry and chocolate speaks to the grape (merlot), but it was apparently a very poor year for merlot. 84 pts.

2011 Long Shadows Wineries Pirouette
Great finesse as usual (always my fave in the Long Shadows line-up) with a bit of jamminess to the fruit, something that usually speaks to ripeness but not an effect imaginable in the difficult 2011 vintage. A good effort for that reason and very drinkable, but it lacks the depth, cut and class of previous vintages. I'll wait for 2012. $55 87 pts.

2010 Long Shadows Wineries Chester-Kidder
50% cab, 25% syrah, the rest CF and PV. Smoked cherry fruit, warm and masculine. Very John Wayne. Shows the excellence of the 2010 vintage for wines with both heft and detail. $50. 91 pts.

2010 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi
Mostly sangiovese. Brambly red fruit with smoke. Good acidity, great definition and balance. Best Saggi I've tasted. $45. 92 pts.

2007 Boudreaux Cellars Merlot
This is the current release. Pourer stressed that Rob only releases a wine when it's ready which is an attempt to explain why 2007 but which, once you get your beak in the glass, makes you wonder if he waited too long. Firm tannins and very acid-driven, with lesser plummy merlot fruit pretty much in the back seat. Pleasant enough to drink--and I love acidic Euro style wine--but this doesn't show well for either the grape or the vintage to me. Bottle open too long? 85 pts.

2012 Boudreaux Cellars Chardonnay
Puligny Montrachet-ish with sweeter fruit. Good concentration; my first chance to taste a Rob Newsom white and I liked it quite a bit. $32.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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JC (NC)

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Re: WTN: at the Long Shadows Tasting Room

by JC (NC) » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:07 pm

What grape variety/varieties go into the Pirouette? I have been impressed by the only vintage of Syrah Sequel I've had, the 2006, although it does lean more towards Australia than the Rhone. What are some of the Washington syrahs you like better at that price point or less dollars? Have you tasted any Saviah Syrah lately and, if so, how are they showing?
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Re: WTN: at the Long Shadows Tasting Room

by Jenise » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:33 pm

JC, Pirouette is the classic Bordeaux blend "made by" Philippe Melka, though he probably hasn't physically been near the winery in years. I'm betting they just pay for the use of the name, as the wines within each brand have not been stylistically consistent. The Sequels have indeed leaned Oz, which in a way would be what you'd expect from John Duval, however, more like Rosemount Balmoral than the Granges he actually made--blueberry malts. Obviously, I actually liked this one because it wasn't that. Syrahs I like better? I'm crazy in love with Reynvaan at a similar price point, and for a lot less I've liked Amavi, Saviah, Trust, Watermill and Dunham. Maison Bleue's in there too somewhere though I'm not sure of the price.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: at the Long Shadows Tasting Room

by JC (NC) » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:53 am

Thanks for the names, Jenise. I will try to obtain some Reynvaan and Saviah. I may have to order from the wineries.
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Re: WTN: at the Long Shadows Tasting Room

by Jenise » Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:12 am

JC, Reynvaan is a very old world style syrah. It's almost hard to taste a Reynvaan and a Sequel and comprehend that they're from the same grape. But they're very hard to get now. Though their first vintage was only 2008 and I bought 08,09 and 10 at regular retail, I never laid eyes on any 2011s and they've since gone to mailing list only. I wasn't alone in being blown sideways but what they're doing! I think they make five different syrahs now (different vineyards and different co-ferments). Their first cabernet, from the by-all-reports magnificent/best-WA-ever 2012 vintage is in barrel right now, though it won't be released until 2015.
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Re: WTN: at the Long Shadows Tasting Room

by Bruce K » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:21 pm

Jenise wrote:Syrahs I like better? I'm crazy in love with Reynvaan at a similar price point, and for a lot less I've liked Amavi, Saviah, Trust, Watermill and Dunham. Maison Bleue's in there too somewhere though I'm not sure of the price.


Jenise, as noted in my post on the other thread, I'm guessing you'll find the syrahs from Gramercy, Kerloo and Rotie (Northern Blend) similarly attractive. I think Amavi's syrah is the best value there is in WW. I like Saviah and Watermill, too. Tasted a Reynvaan in the Rocks once and was blown away, but price and accessibility have otherwise deterred me. (Haven't tasted Trust or Dunham.) Other syrahs I think are well worth trying if you travel to WW include Waters, which has some beautiful single vineyard bottlings (now owned by Tero -- you can try them at Tero's tasting room downtown or at Waters south of town), Balboa, Fjellene (though I heard a rumor they may be defunct), and Buty (if you count Rediviva of the Stones, which is part Cab -- though they changed winemakers recently). Another place worth visiting is Morrison Lane because the owner's a hoot and because they lean to the unusual (nebbiolo, carmenere, counoise, barbera, etc.)

I find it especially fascinating to taste the difference in the syrahs -- which I think is overall the AVA's most promising grape -- between those from vineyards in the rocks area (e.g., Reynvaan, Cayuse/No Girls, Buty) and those grown in higher elevation, loess-based vineyards like les Collines (e.g., Gramercy, Kerloo, Amavi). To oversimplify, it's intensity/earthiness vs. aromatics/elegance. Two very distinctive terroirs just 5-10 miles apart. Also, an advantage of going and tasting now is that 2010 and 2011 -- the bottlings most likely to be available -- were cooler than average vintages, which for me is a good thing.
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Re: WTN: at the Long Shadows Tasting Room

by Jenise » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:20 pm

Bruce K wrote:
Jenise wrote:Syrahs I like better? I'm crazy in love with Reynvaan at a similar price point, and for a lot less I've liked Amavi, Saviah, Trust, Watermill and Dunham. Maison Bleue's in there too somewhere though I'm not sure of the price.


Jenise, as noted in my post on the other thread, I'm guessing you'll find the syrahs from Gramercy, Kerloo and Rotie (Northern Blend) similarly attractive. I think Amavi's syrah is the best value there is in WW. I like Saviah and Watermill, too. Tasted a Reynvaan in the Rocks once and was blown away, but price and accessibility have otherwise deterred me. (Haven't tasted Trust or Dunham.) Other syrahs I think are well worth trying if you travel to WW include Waters, which has some beautiful single vineyard bottlings (now owned by Tero -- you can try them at Tero's tasting room downtown or at Waters south of town), Balboa, Fjellene (though I heard a rumor they may be defunct), and Buty (if you count Rediviva of the Stones, which is part Cab -- though they changed winemakers recently). Another place worth visiting is Morrison Lane because the owner's a hoot and because they lean to the unusual (nebbiolo, carmenere, counoise, barbera, etc.)

I find it especially fascinating to taste the difference in the syrahs -- which I think is overall the AVA's most promising grape -- between those from vineyards in the rocks area (e.g., Reynvaan, Cayuse/No Girls, Buty) and those grown in higher elevation, loess-based vineyards like les Collines (e.g., Gramercy, Kerloo, Amavi). To oversimplify, it's intensity/earthiness vs. aromatics/elegance. Two very distinctive terroirs just 5-10 miles apart. Also, an advantage of going and tasting now is that 2010 and 2011 -- the bottlings most likely to be available -- were cooler than average vintages, which for me is a good thing.


Bruce, appreciate your response. It's so fun discussing Washington wines with someone who has experienced them--JC's always game, but otherwise few here have much experience with any WA wines at all.

Re syrah being the most promising grape: miles of great old merlot vineyards were planted over to syrah because nobody outside the state got how great merlot was here, and because it was time to give up competing with California on cabernets. It has taken a long time, more time than I think most thought it would, to get syrahs of character and prestige into the market place at a price fair to the people who made them and train the public that thought $50 for a great cab was a no-brainer to pay as much for an equally venerable syrah. There was the earthy Cayuse at one level, McCrae, K, Buty and Dunham's Frenchtown bottling on another--though it was only sold at the winery and few knew about it--and then more or less there was everybody else. Reynvaan's unprecedented and meteoric rise to mailing-list-only glory proves, I hope, that the marketplace has finally matured in its appreciation for the grape, and a lot of the other wineries you mention finally have some coattails to ride.

Glad you, too, were blown away by the earthy Reynvaans: domestically, syrah has been just about my last place grape and yet I gobbled up every bottle I saw and jumped on the mailing list when I had to, paying those prices, because I was THAT smitten. On sheer faith alone I have even ordered and paid for my full allocation of the 2012 Cabernet they won't release until sometime in 2015. If you ever swing through this part of the world again, drop by Birch Bay and we'll pop some corks.

That said, the 2013 harvest finally, for the first time either ever or in decades, not sure which, saw red wine production outpace white (mostly reisling, which is fed to Asia). But it was cabernet on top, not syrah.

I am sympathetic to your take on the cool vintages. I love 2010, which is the coolest vintage since 1999, though 2008, also cooler than most, might turn out to be the best vintage of the decade. It was a smaller vintage with great concentration and the structure to carry it. 2011--eh. Yes, cool, but unkindly so and a real separator of men from boys. There was like one magic week in November 2011 in which the grapes were barely ripe enough to pick but before the frost hit, and if you didn't wait, or didn't have pickers lined up for that week, you were screwed. A lot of grapes just rotted. I haven't tasted many yet, but if Long Shadows is any indication then, as feared, a lot of good people made sad wine.

Since we're on the same page, I've noted all the wineries you name to target when we get to Walla Walla. Re Buty--you seem to know the story. Do I understand correctly and Nina and Caleb divorced and she got the winery?
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Re: WTN: at the Long Shadows Tasting Room

by Bruce K » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:48 pm

Thanks -- great to get your big picture perspective on the scene. Interesting about the merlots, too -- this is the only place I've ever tasted where they're more powerful than the cabs.

I've been going to Walla Walla periodically for the better part of 30 years and it's been fascinating to see the transformation. But I haven't made it to your side of the state very often, so I'm much more familiar with the Walla Walla winemakers than those located around Pasco and Yakima or, for that matter, in Woodinville.

For me, what has made this place so exciting is the emergence in recent years of vintners trying to make wines in more of an old world style and letting the terroir shine through, as opposed to the overoaked, overextracted style that once seemed nearly ubiquitous. (Of course, we seem to be seeing a similar trend in California now, too.)

More of the newer/old world winemakers in WW seem to be more focused on Rhone grapes (Cayuse, Reynvaan, Gramercy, Kerloo, Maison Bleue, Waters, Rotie, el Corazon, etc.) and perhaps it's that -- rather than the potential of syrah per se -- that makes the grape shine so much to me. But I have had excellent Bordeaux-style wines from Seven Hills, Buty, Waters, Tero, Balboa and Cadaretta (a new one to me). Plus some great tempranillos. Even had a pinot noir (?!) produced by Saviah from a vineyard at 1,900 feet elevation that seemed comparable in quality to those from the Willamette Valley.

Re Buty, my understanding is that they did get divorced, the winery is her name, and it stayed with her. She hired a new winemaker but I have no idea whether he's continuing to make wines in the same style. I'm sure whatever 2010s they have were made by Caleb, and perhaps the 2011s, too? No idea what he's doing now but I've loved every wine I've tasted that he made.

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