92 Points - Stephen Tanzer's Intl Wine Cellar
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.
Wines with wonderful balance and intensity are the hallmark of the 2008 harvest, and our 2008 Chester-Kidder exemplifies the style of this vintage. The growing season started slowly with summer temperatures warming gradually. As a result, veraison was a bit later than usual, but our growers worked diligently throughout the summer to keep the vines in good balance so that by the time the Columbia Valley's typical warm fall days and cool nights arrived in September the grapes were in a position to ripen beautifully.
Inky in color with deep, dark hues, the 2008 Chester-Kidder offers exquisite black cherry and chocolate aromas and flavors with a pleasant hint of oak spice. This is a vibrant and rich wine with intense flavors of ripe blackberry that leave a lengthy impression.
92 POINTS - STEPHEN TANZER'S INTL WINE CELLAR
Located just above Red Mountain, Candy Mountain is one of the warmest vineyards in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, comprising 40% of the ’08 blend, ripen beautifully on this south-facing site. The balance of the Cabernet Sauvignon is from three Walla Walla vineyards each selected to add mouth-feel and dimension to the wine. Petit Verdot from Stone Tree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope imparts a bright, dark fruit character. Cabernet Franc from Weinbau Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope enhances the wine’s structure and adds 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 wilves in Walla Walla with their two children.