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.
The 2010 growing season got off to a cool start that delayed flowering and reduced fruit set. The trend continued through the summer, with moderate temperatures persisting into July and August. As a result, winemaker Gilles Nicault worked with growers to drop clusters and open up the leaf canopies early in the season so that when the warm weather finally arrived in late September, the vines were well positioned to finish ripening the grapes and produce wines with excellent flavor and varietal character.
Deep and dark in color, this intensely aromatic wine is loaded with dark cherry, blackberry and a hint of chocolate. With its impressive concentration of refined tannins and a lively mouth feel, the 2010 Chester-Kidder offers layers of intense fruit flavors and spice. Well balanced from beginning to end, the wine leaves a vibrant impression across a lengthy finish.
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Roughly two-thirds of the Cabernet Sauvignon for the 2010 Chester-Kidder was grown on Candy Mountain, adjacent to Red Mountain where the remaining one-third of the Cabernet for this blend was grown. The Red Mountain area is one of the warmest sections of the Columbia Valley; Cabernet Sauvignon ripens beautifully here and brings texture, backbone and richness to the wine. Candy Mountain Syrah contributes dark color and savory, spiciness. Petit Verdot from Dionysus Vineyard imparts dense, rich character and gives the wine its bright, lively mouth feel.
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.