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.
Three distinct Columbia Valley growing regions, each comprising roughly one-third of the blend, create a complex, multi-layered wine. Yakima Valley’s Boushey Vineyard is a moderately cool site, notable for the bright, elegant character of Syrah grown here. Bacchus Vineyard Syrah from Block 5A, planted in 1994, brings intense color and aromatics. Red Mountain Syrah gives the wine its impressive structure and backbone.
Carefully selected, 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 and enhance dimension on the palate. 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 grapes’ delicate skin to extract color and aromatics without imparting harsh tannins. Finally, a small portion of the grapes underwent submerged cap fermentation to enhance structure and mouthfeel. Once ready for barrel, the finished wine was aged 18 months in French oak, 65% new.
97 points – Jeb Dunnuck
95 points - Vinous Media