Chester-Kidder 2012 Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $50

chester-kidder-red-wine-2012-bottleThe recognized inaugural vintage of Walla Walla’s star-studded Long Shadows Vintners goes down as 2003, but this label actually marks the beginning of the Allen Shoup’s project. The first vintage of Chester-Kidder – named for his grandfather, Charles Chester, and his grandmother, Maggie Kidder – was 2002, and that blend led with Merlot. A decade later, that Bordeaux variety doesn’t come into play at all. Instead, it leads with Cabernet Sauvignon (66%) with critical contributions from Syrah (23%) and Petit Verdot as the focus remains upon Candy Mountain, a sister formation to famed Red Mountain. Director of winemaker Gilles Nicault sends some of the Cab lots through 40 days of extended maceration, and the barrel program of 30 months in 85 percent new French oak shows in enticing aromas of milk chocolate and clove with black cherry, dried rosemary, caramel and a pouch of pipe tobacco. Pleasing tannins allow for full enjoyment of flavors akin to Bing cherry, plum, cinnamon sugar on toast and cola, finished by coffee and Chukar Cherry.

Rating: Excellent

Production: 1,035 cases

Alcohol: 14%

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