Columbia Valley, Washington
WINEMAKER – John Duval
Few winemakers are as synonymous with the iconic wines of a country as John Duval, best known for his work with Penfolds’ Grange, the gold standard for Australian Shiraz. John joined Penfolds winery in 1974 after completing his studies in agriculture and winemaking. He was appointed Penfolds’ chief winemaker in 1986. During his 16-year tenure, John helped establish Penfolds as one of the world’s most celebrated wineries. After 28 years, John stepped down from the company in 2002 to establish John Duval Wines. In addition to making his own wine, John traveled to the Columbia Valley in 2003 at the invitation of Long Shadows Vintners’ founder Allen Shoup to make his first U.S. wine, Sequel, a name chosen in recognition of his
life’s work with Syrah.
The 2017 Sequel is a blend of diverse vineyards that contribute distinct characteristics to the finished wine. Yakima Valley’s Boushey Vineyard, notable for its bright, elegant character, comprises one-third of the blend, as does Bacchus Vineyard. Grown on a south-facing block planted in 1993, Bacchus Syrah adds black fruit character and richness. Red Mountain Syrah gives the wine its structure and backbone. Finally, a small amount of Shiraz clone grapes from Sonnet Vineyard at The Benches contribute dark cassis aromas and flavors.
Hand-harvested grapes underwent a variety of fermentation techniques to produce a wide spectrum of flavors. One-third of the Syrah was whole-cluster fermented to boost viscosity. Several lots underwent an Australian technique known as “rack and return” that requires draining the tank twice daily and gently putting the juice back over the top of the skins to extract color, soft tannins and aromatics without imparting harsh tannins. Finally, a small portion of the grapes underwent submerged cap fermentation to enhance structure and mouthfeel. The finished wine was aged 18 months in all French oak barrels, 60% new.
93+ points – Jeb Dunnuck
93 points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
93 points – Antonio Galloni’s Vinous Media