93 Points - Wine Advocate
Allen Shoup named this wine in honor of his grandfather, Charles Chester, and his grandmother, Maggie Kidder. He has a purpose in mind; a vision really, and that is to make a wine that says, "this is how good Washington wine can be." Allen selected Gilles Nicault, former winemaker for Woodward Canyon, to bring the vision to fruition.
Aromas of dried figs andcocoa powder, along with hints of tamarind and toasty oak are followed by intense violet and blueberry jam flavors beautifully integrated around a spicy core.
93 POINTS - WINE ADVOCATE
Red Mountain and nearby Candy Mountain enjoy some of the highest heat units in the Columbia Valley. Carefully selected grapes from these two vineyards make-up approximately 40% of the Chester-Kidder blend, giving the wine its backbone and rich, ripe tannins. Walla Walla fruit (16%) contributes appealing blackberry jam flavors. Stillwater Creek Vineyard contributes to the wine’s pure aromas and balance. Grapes from The Benches (formerly known as Wallula Vineyard) in Horse Heaven Hills (15%) add complexity and concentration due to low yields and meticulous vineyard practices. Cabernet Franc from Weinbau Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope (9%) provide beautiful structure and refined tannins.
Gilles 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 llves in Walla Walla with their two children.