By Kori ~ February 5th, 2008.
For Christmas, Colby and I gave Dad (John) a reservation to attend the Long Shadows Wine Dinner at Waterfront Seafood Grill on Pier 70 here in Seattle. And for my birthday in January, Colby gave me a reservation to the same dinner. So last Tuesday Dad and I cashed in on our presents and attended a spectacular evening of wine and food featuring winemaking legends Allen Shoup and John Duval.
Allen Shoup is considered one of the pioneers of the Washington wine industry. He was the CEO of Stimson Lane wine group for years. During that time, he oversaw their portfolio of wineries, including Chateau Ste Michelle and Columbia Crest, and forged relationships with many important players in the wine business around the world. Upon retirement, he pursued his dream of bringing some of the most highly acclaimed winemakers from different regions around the world to Washington to make world-class wines comparable to the wines they make in their native wine regions. The Long Shadows winemaker-partners began crafting their signature wines in 2003.
The Wine Peeps have been fans of Australian Shiraz for many years. Therefore, we were especially excited to have the opportunity to meet John Duval, one of the most famous winemakers in Australia and around the world. He spent 16 years as the chief winemaker for Penfolds and is best known for his work with Penfolds Grange, Australia’s most famous wine. In 2002 he left Penfolds to establish John Duval Wines. Now he is also one of the Long Shadows winemaker-partners making Sequel Syrah. I have been fortunate enough to taste a number of his wines including Penfolds, John Duval Wines, and now Sequel and they are all fabulous.
Here’s a rundown of the food and wine pairings from Waterfront’s Long Shadows Wine Dinner to give you some food ideas as you enjoy these wines:
Lobster Butter Poached Scallops
Meyer lemons, avocado, cilantro, red chiles
2006 Poet’s Leap
Creamy Polenta Souffle
Oregonzola foam, charred asparagus
Braised Pork Belly
Honey, soy, ginger glaze, crispy potato tian, crème fraiche
Orange Panna Cotta
Candied orange, crème anglaise
Double Top Secret Late Harvest Riesling
During the dinner, both Allen Shoup and John Duval spoke. Allen spoke first about his background in the wine industry as well as his dream and the founding of Long Shadows. Later John spoke about his winemaking background and then specifically about his work on Sequel. One point that he made about his winemaking style especially stood out to me. I’m paraphrasing as I was not quick enough to jot down his quote word for word. He said that in each wine he makes he strives for elegance, refinement, and structure but doesn’t want to drown the fruit with alcohol or oak. I think that this says a lot and explains why I personally enjoy his wines so much. Also in attendance was Gilles Nicault who collaborates with Allen Shoup on the Chester-Kidder and also serves as the resident winemaker for Long Shadows. He is the one that oversees the day-to-day winemaking operations when the winemaker-partners are not in Washington.
We had the pleasure of speaking with John Duval after dinner. Dad asked him how he would compare his John Duval Wines Entity Shiraz with the Sequel Syrah. He said that comparing wines from different wine regions on opposite sides of the world is difficult. They are definitely different wines but he hoped that we would be able to see his stamp on both. We certainly do!
2004 Sequel: 97% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Our favorite of the evening from the first sniff and taste. Cherries and black fruits on the nose leads to flavors of black fruits and spice. Excellent fruit, smooth tannins, good acidity, and a long finish. A very well-balanced wine.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Wine Exchange (California), $49.99
2005 Sequel: 96% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. A dense, deep red with aromas and flavors of black cherries and chocolate. This wine really improves with food. Still very young.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Atlantic Discount Spirits (South Carolina), $58.99
Filed under: American Wine, Australian Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dessert Wine, Red Wine, Riesling, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines Over $25