Allen Shoup named this wine in honor of his grandfather, Charles Chester, and his grandmother, Maggie Kidder. He selected Long Shadows' director of winemaking and viticulture, Gilles Nicault, to craft this New World blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and other classic Bordeaux varieties.
The 2012 vintage was a classic growing season, producing wines with exceptional color, richness and complexity. The season started warm; April conditions were near perfect, then temperatures cooled considerably in May and June before warming for the summer and remaining remarkably consistent throughout harvest. Small berries loaded with intense flavor matured beautifully, yielding rich flavors and ripe, integrated tannins.
Deep and dark in color, brimming with black cherry and ripe plum aromas and flavors. Hints of ground coffee, mocha and oak spice echo across the palate, adding complexity. Bold on the entry, gaining brightness across the mid-palate with layers of vibrant red fruit leading to a long and supple finish.
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Like previous vintages of Chester-Kidder, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are primarily sourced from Candy Mountain, an area of the Columbia Valley adjacent to Red Mountain and one of the warmest regions in the state. Cabernet Sauvignon from here brings structure and richness to the wine. The Syrah has deep, dark color and gives the wine its savory spiciness. Weinbau and Pepper Bridge Vineyards provide texture and complexity. Petit Verdot from Stone Tree and Dionysus Vineyards adds to the wine’s bright, lively finish.
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.