Winery owner Allen Shoup has been friends with the artist for 30 years.
ABOUT 30 YEARS ago, Allen Shoup met Dale Chihuly. Shoup was the president of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Chihuly was becoming recognized as the leader of the modern art-glass movement.
The two quickly became friends, and when Chateau Ste. Michelle introduced its Artist Series red blend more than 20 years ago, Chihuly was the featured artist. Last year, Chihuly again was on the label for the 20th vintage of the Artist Series.
Shoup retired from Ste. Michelle in 2000 but was far from finished in the wine industry.
Three to try
These three wines are part of Long Shadows. They should be available at fine wine shops or at the Long Shadows tasting rooms in Woodinville and Walla Walla.
Poet’s Leap 2015 riesling, Columbia Valley, $20: This international collaboration is a harmonious example of Washington riesling, with stunning aromas of crisp apple, slate and lime, followed by long, clean flavors of Asian pear and apple. A whisper of sweetness bevels the crisp edges.
Chester-Kidder 2013 red, Columbia Valley, $55: This cabernet sauvignon-based blend reveals aromas and flavors of dark, focused fruit, dried thyme and shaved chocolate. Elegant, age-worthy tannins provide length and power.
Pedestal 2013 merlot, Columbia Valley, $60: Famed Bordeaux winemaker Michel Rolland collaborated on this luscious merlot with aromas of black cherry and dusty huckleberry, followed by flavors of ripe dark fruit backed by elegant tannins and rich acidity.
In 2003, he launched Long Shadows Vintners, a winery that is a collaboration with several international winemakers — each with its own label and ownership stake. Among them are Michel Rolland (Bordeaux), Armin Diel (Germany), Randy Dunn (Napa), John Duval (Australia), Philippe Melka (Napa and Bordeaux), Agustin Huneeus (Chile), and Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari (Tuscany). Shoup’s resident winemaker is Gilles Nicault, who grew up in France’s Rhône Valley.
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In time for harvest 2006, Long Shadows opened a winemaking facility and tasting room amid wheat fields just west of Walla Walla, and Chihuly was interested in contributing. So in spring 2007, several Chihuly pieces were installed, and remain there today on permanent loan. They include several glass baskets and a chandelier. A display of green tubes is meant to represent prairie grasses that were native to the Walla Walla Valley and nearby Palouse before the introduction of modern agriculture.
At the winery entrance, an original Chihuly painting greets visitors. It says, “Long Shadows,” and was a surprise gift from Chihuly to Shoup.
The Chihuly exhibit at Long Shadows is the result of a special friendship. The winery barely mentions it on its website, and rarely do first-time visitors know it is there before they arrive. It is the only permanent display of Chihuly artwork in Walla Walla and one of the few in Eastern Washington.
A visit to Long Shadows in Walla Walla is an opportunity to enjoy Chihuly glass up close, and the winery’s artistry with every sip.