Long Shadows
Part 18, Washington State: visiting one of North America's leading wine growing regions

 allen shoup

Website: http://www.longshadows.com/

Long Shadows is an interesting wine project, and it's the brainchild of Allen Shoup (above), who has an important history in Washington State's wine scene.

Originally from the cosmetics business, Allen then worked for Gallo before moving to LA to become head of Max Factor marketing. Then, he was hired by Chateau Ste Michelle and became CEO,  a position he held for 17 years. It is hard to underestimate the importance of Ste Michelle to the Washington State wine industry, and although Allen humbly suggests that he merely did what any other fairly smart individual would have done in the situation, under his watch company revenues grew from $5m to $175m, and the state’s vineyard area rose from 5000 acres to 30 000 acres.

long shadows winery

'We worked hard to develop the entire industry,' Shoup recalls. 'This investment, and also social phenomena, made the change. The USA wasn't a wine country until 1980. We had a Chardonnay craze that brought us to wine, plus international travel, plus gourmet culture. All these just came together and created a huge wave, that we rode the crest of.' He adds, 'the reason Washington is what it is today is because it is a unique region to grow grapes in, but we didn't realize this at the time.'

He was instrumental in creating the Columbia Valley AVA that basically covers all the wines produced in the state. 'I felt strongly that Washington was the worst word you could have on a wine label,' says Shoup. 'The word associations with Washington are all negative. I felt that if we could create a viticultural appellation that we could all put our hat on we could get people to know the Columbia Valley.' But he doesn't think that it worked the way he'd envisaged. 'If you are the person with the biggest house on the hill there is a lot of resentment. People don't trust you. It is not a healthy relationship. California had the same thing with Gallo. As soon as I started to push the Columbia Valley as an appellation it quickly Balkanised the other appellations.'

long shadows wine

Allen left Ste Michelle in 2000, and began his own venture. Aware from his Ste Michelle days of how much positive impact a joint venture with a leading international consultant could have on sales (Eroica with Ernie Loosen had been a great success), he focused on his Vintners Collection of wines, where leading winemakers joined forces with Long Shadows to create special wines. He’s enlisted the help of Randy Dunn, Augustin Huneeus, Michel Rolland, the Folonaris, Philippe Melka, John Duval and Armin Diel as consulting partners for these wines. Shoup strongly admires what Robert Mondavi achieved with the Opus One joint venture back in the 1970s. 'What Opus did for California: we will never understand how important that was. Before this, Napa wines could never sell in New York.'

long shadows winery 2

The wines here are all very good, but they are largely wines of style rather than necessarily place. There are some highlights: I particularly like the Poet’s Leap Riesling, Feather Cabernet Sauvignon and Sequel Syrah. But they are ripe wines, weighing in with late 14s alcohol (for the reds), and accompanying sweetness and richness. They can carry it, but I suspect they might be even better picked just a bit earlier. But there’s no doubting their quality, and they fit with the flavour profile that seems to do so well with the domestic market here – and, of course, many of the established US critics.

 long shadows


Long Shadows Dance Chardonnay 2013 Horse Heaven Hills, Washington State
75% malolactic, 20% new oak. Richly textured with pear and peach fruit. Nice depth here with some spice and fig notes. Very rich but focused with nice depth and intensity. 92/100

Long Shadows Feather Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Washington State
14.4% alcohol. 22 months French oak, 90% new. Randy Dunn consults for this wine. Smooth, aromatic, pure and seductive with blackcurrant and cherry fruit. Polished and textured with exotic, silky mouthfeel and nice weight. There's still some freshness here. 92/100

Long Shadows Feather 2008
Gravelly, grippy and intense with lovely black fruits. Grainy, in a nice ripe style, but has lovely detail. 92/100

Long Shadows Pirouette 2012 Washington State
A Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated Bordeaux blend. 14.9% alcohol. Consultants here are Philippe Melka and Augustin Huneeus. Sweet, ripe and richly aromatic with seductive black fruits on the nose. The palate has sweet black fruits and a hint of saltiness. Ripe and seductive. Plush and powerful. 91/100

Long Shadows Pirouette 2008
14.6% alcohol. Sweet, textured and spicy with generous nicely defined black cherry and blackberry fruit. Bold, with fine spiciness and nice texture. Has some warmth. 91/100

Long Shadows Saggi 2012 Washington State
59% Sangiovese, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Syrah. 14.9% alcohol. Consultants are Ambrigio and Giovanni Folonari. Fresh, sweet, vivid and spicy. Tarry and intense with firm tannins. Grippy, dark and dense with spicy intensity. Black fruits dominate. 91/100

Long Shadows Saggi 2008
Sweet, ripe and powerful with lovely black fruits and a bit of spiciness. Smooth and pure with black cherry and berry fruits plus a hint of chocolate. Nice finesse here. Ripe and polished but with definition. 92/100

Long Shadows Chester Kidder 2011 Washington State
Consultancy from Gilles Nicault. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah and 7% Petit Verdot. Rich, chocolatey, spicy and bold with fine spicy notes and sweet fruit. Tannic and chocolatey with a warm liqueur-like core to it. 90/100

Long Shadows Chester Kidder 2008
Seductive, rich, sweet, spicy, jammy nose. Some raspberry and a bit of coffee. Rich with a bit of pepperiness and some cocoa notes. 90/100

Long Shadows Sequel 2012 Washington State
14.8% alcohol. This is made with John Duval, and it's 94% Syrah and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich, silky and pure with soft, clean, textured black cherry fruit. Lush and seamless. There's nice depth to this wine, which is quite stylish in this ripe style. 92/100

Long Shadows Sequel 2008
Rich, seductive and smooth with nice depth. A bit salty with silky black fruits. Spicy, bold and intense. 92/100

Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot 2012 Washington State
15.1% alcohol. Made with Michel Rolland as a consultant. 22 months in French oak, of which 85% is new. Rich, lush, smooth and seamless. A ripe, textured wine that's smooth, sweet and polished with soft tannins and a slightly drying finish. 90/100

Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot 2008
Seductive, rich and smooth with a Port-like character. Fine grained and polished with seductive fruit. 91/100

Long Shadows Poet's Leap Riesling 2014 Washington State
Made with the help of Armin Diel. 12.9% alcohol, pH 2,97, 12.5 g/l residual sugar. Textured, lively and pure with smooth, rich citrus fruit and some pear. Finely spiced with a bit of sweetness. Very fine. 93/100


Columbia Winery
De Lille
WT Vintners
Savage Grace
Chateau Ste Michelle
Andrew Will
Airfield Estates
Milbrandt Vineyards
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
Col Solare
Powers/Badger Mountain
J Bookwalter
Pacific Rim
Gordon Estate
Long Shadows
Seven Hills
Charles Smith
Geology with Kevin Pogue
Woodward Canyon
Gramercy Cellars
L'Ecole No 41
Columbia Crest
Memaloose/Idiot's Grace
COR Cellars

Wines tasted as indicated
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