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.
Though 2011 was a challenging vintage due to cooler that average conditions throughout the growing season, the Columbia Valley faired much better than the other west coast growing regions. Credit carefully cropped canopies and a warm September that allowed grapes to reach physiological maturity and finish ripening perfectly. Cool fall evenings offset thte warm days to preserve the fruits' acidity and ripen tannins. The resulting wines have firm structure and backbone suggesting they will be good candidates for the cellar. At the same time, the growing season produced ripe, vibrant grapes that made fresh, approachable wines offering plenty of youthful enjoyment as well. This is a vintage that should not be overlooked.
Deep crimson colored with gorgeous aromas of blackberry, mocha and sweet herbs. Across the palate, the intensity and complexity of flavors build, ranging from ripe plum and rich black cherry to pleasant notes of graphite. This is a wine with excellent structure, creamy texture and delicate finesse from beginning to end.
92 POINTS - WINE ADVOCATE $50 / bottle
Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah for the 2011 Chester-Kidder were grown on Candy Mountain, an area of the Columbia Valley adjacent to Red Mountain and one of the warmest sections of the state. Cabernet Sauvignon ripens beautifully here and brings texture, backbone and richness to the wine. The Syrah has rich, dark color and gives the wine its savory spiciness. Petit Verdot from Dionysus Vineyard offsets the big, dark charachter of the Cabernet adn Syrah with a refined texture and adds to the wine's vibrant charm and 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.