2008 Long Shadows Cabernet Sauvignon “Feather”

Hello friends. Like the Rocky Mother offering from a few weeks ago, today’s wine had a strong review that came out months before the release of the wine (in this case, in the February issue of Wine Enthusiast). It’s easy to let wines like this slip through the cracks, and there’s a chance I’d be guilty of doing exactly that myself.

That is, if it weren’t for the steady trickle of requests from conscientious Full Pull list members, like a human Microsoft Outlook reminder, snoozed forty-seven times until, finally, it’s ready:

Long Shadows is one of the treasures of Washington wine, a visionary effort by Allen Shoup (former CEO of Ste Michelle Wine Estates). His idea was to pair the best grapes of Washington with the best winemakers from the rest of the world: a grand experiment to see how the state’s fruit holds up to a variety of winemaking styles. The experiment has been an unmitigated success, helped in large part by resident winemaker Gilles Nicault, the Woodward Canyon veteran who has thrived under the challenges of shepherding seven different wines with different winemakers to completion each vintage.

Feather is the Cabernet Sauvignon of the lineup, and the partner winemaker is Randy Dunn. Dunn is a Napa Valley legend who established his reputation at Caymus in the late 1970s before establishing Dunn Vineyards in 1979. He has been making exquisite Cabernet from Howell Mountain and the greater Napa Valley ever since, and for Allen Shoup to attract him to the Long Shadows lineup back in 2003 was a real coup.

Something I have admired about the Feather project from the beginning is that each vintage has been 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. No fleshing it out with Merlot, no salt and pepper from a splash of Petit Verdot; just pure, honest Cabernet. The backbone comes from the Wahluke Slope, a combination of Stone Tree Vineyard and the old vines at Sagemoor’s Weinbau. It’s rounded out with fruit from the Shoup-owned Benches (formerly Wallula), in the Horse Heaven Hills. The dense fruit and suave texture are the stars here, the flavors a ringing bell of Cabernet purity, all cassis and star anise. Wonderful finishing grip tells you this could be nothing but world-class Cabernet.

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($55); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].  94pts.”

First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.


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