Washington’s east side is a veritable field of dreams for winemakers. From 500-case production to mid-sized wineries to groups of winemakers collaborating under one umbrella, at the end of the day what they all have in common is a genuine excitement for the possibilities throughout a region broadly defined as the Columbia Valley.
Long Shadows is one of those collectives that strive to offer a range of wines for consumers as diverse as their customer base. From their ultra-premium Chester-Kidder Bordeaux blend, Pedestal Merlot and Poet’s Leap Riesling to the affordable stylings of their Nine Hats label, Long Shadows seeks out quality grapes from vineyards throughout the expansive AVA and pairs each varietal or blend with the winemaker best suited from their team.
2016 Poet’s Leap Riesling
Longshadows has German winemaker, Armin Diel, on this project and the varietal correctness of this refreshing white is stunning. A fresh and fruity nose with hints of citrus and deep apricot notes. There’s also a stoniness and lingering white blossom. A lemon curd creaminess hits mid-palate mingled with herbal notes of lemon thyme but this wine finishes apricot all the way. A fuller bodied wine, pair this with creamy pastas, chicken cooked in a rich white sauce or mushroom stroganoff. On the lighter side, a grilled scallop or shrimp salad with an avocado dressing would be divine. $20
Aromas of melon, orange blossom and mandarin orange greet the nose. The palate is crisp and acidic with good minerality, light chamomile and an orange-sicle familiarity. A lighter crisper Riesling than the Poet’s Leap, the traditional recommendation of Asian food is appropriate. Grilled fish, Ahi tuna or even chicken enchiladas would be wonderful alongside this approachable bottle. $14
The day I sipped this little number was the perfect Pinot Gris day; 80+ degrees with my feet up at our campsite partaking in crackers topped with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and basil as I anticipated grilled salmon, garden-fresh asparagus and roasted potatoes with a medley of fresh herbs. To say I’m a fan of the traditional patio sipper would be an understatement and this affordable bottle colored me all kinds of happy. If you’re a lover of shellfish, this is your go-to wine. Lemon, lime, a nice touch of minerality and distinct lemon thyme on the finish made this precise for the price. $14
This blend is Syrah with nearly equal part Cabernet Sauvignon and just enough Merlot and Malbec to amp up the aromas. I noted red and black fruit, dark plum, bramble, black cherry, tobacco, tobacco leaf, black currant with a hint of chocolate nib. There was a lot going on here. The palate is considerably more focused with coating tannins and black fruit notes. Priced for every day imbibing, it’s easy to make this your summer BBQ wine from burgers to ribs to pulled pork.