2009 Longshadows, Sequel, Columbia Valley Syrah
By now, the Longshadows story should be familiar to most of our club members. In 2003, former Stimson Lane wine group CEO Allen Shoup invited winemakers from throughout the world to Walla Walla to produce limited releases of world class wines, reflecting their signature wine back home. It has been a remarkably successful undertaking, and we’ve found that the wines just keep getting better with time. The Sequel Syrah is a classic example, as each year we see less new oak and more food-friendliness in the wine. It is made from the finest of Washington state Syrah grapes by the Australian John Duval, who was the longtime winemaker of Penfold’s Grange, unquestionably one of the world’s most iconic wines. At $49.75, this wine is considerably less expensive than Grange, and also much more ready to drink. Opaque in color, it’s an expressive wine offering vibrant aromas of sweet dark fruits and grilled meats. Dark cherry flavors laced with savory spice notes are framed by refined tannins, good acidity, and a long finish. This big wine will hold in your cellar for several years and it is in good supply. Enjoy it with roast beef or other hearty fare.
2012 Domaine de la Mordorée, La Reine des Bois, Lirac Blanc
Domaine de la Mordorée is based in the town of Tavel, in the southern Rhône Valley, and they also own property in nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape and in Lirac. Lirac is a relatively large appellation just west of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and spitting distance (wine, of course!) from Tavel. It is increasingly gaining a reputation for producing excellent wines, that can be more affordable alternatives to those from the neighboring Rhône appellations—especially in the hands of talented and dedicated producers such as brothers Christophe and Fabrice Delorme. They created Domaine de la Mordorée in 1986 with a goal of producing the best wines possible in each of their appellations, all with minimum impact on the environment. They practice sustainable agriculture and their label proudly depicts the woodcock (its local poetic nickname is Mordorée) which flies over their land during its migrations. As for the wine, think of this white Lirac as a baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is an almost equal blend of Grenache Blanc (the white-berried form of Grenache Noir, which provides soft richness and body), with Viognier (adding great aromatics), and Roussanne (adding peach notes.) They are blended together into a sumptuous, full-bodied wine, with soft overtones of fruit and almonds, and a good, solid structure. A superb match for appetizers, chicken, seafood, or French country fare, it is ready to drink now, or could hold for another five years. (And we still have some of the 2007 vintage if you’d like to see how well this wine ages.) It is $39.75 and is extremely limited in this market so there may not be much more available.