Long Cellars 3 Year Anniversary Party, Day 2

One of our favorite local wineries had day 2 of their 3 year anniversary party today. Heather and I were lucky enough to get tickets to both days!

A photo of a woman with wine glasses in front of her.
Heather starting with the Vin Rouge Rose.

If you haven’t heard of Long Cellars, check out our Day 1 party post for a quick intro and write up. He is an amazing winemaker, and should get rich making wine.

So let’s break out the wine for the day!

The menu from Long Cellars on Day 2 of the party.
The day 2 menu was Malbec, Petit Verdot, and his classic blends.

Malbec

Day 2 started with my wife’s favorite varietal Malbec. Again, we were sampling wines with tiny amounts available, so a chance to hit these early vintages was amazing.

We started with a 2014 from Glacier vineyard. Light, blue and dry, with a single bottle available for ~20 folks who made it to the party. 2015 had two samples available, a vintage from Scooteney Flats that had a savory nose, with a red fruit finish (twelve bottles), and a Boushey vineyard that was truly outstanding, with out of this world blue fruit (none left, just a sample available.) Classic Washington Malbec. The 2016 (seven bottles available) had the complexity I had come to expect from the year, and the 2017 (another seven bottles) was dark, and full, and super fruity. The Scooteney Flats was uniquely savory, I wondered if it had a touch of syrah in it.

A photo of a flight of 4 tastings.
Malbecs from left to right, the 2014, 2015 Scooteney Flats, 2015 Boushey (Barrel #3) and 2016 Boushey.

Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is a unique grape. When you read about it, it is normally just a blending grape. Something to make a blend fuller, and finish strongly. When Heather and I started tasting in Washington, you would find Petit Verdot in tiny percentages at the end of blends. 4% here, 2% there. Very light additions. Then in 2016, we started seeing producers push it our as a single varietal.

Jason had three versions of the Petit Verdot for us to try. A 2015 from Scooteney Flats, light and delicate, with 6 bottles left. A wonderful 2016 from Boushey that was brutal and fleshy; almost, for the life of me, toothsome. The 2017 was a bright powerfully ruby everyday drinkable fruit-bomb that finished with a screaming bit of pepper. There were 3 cases left of the ’17.

A flight of 3 wines ready for tasting.
Heather sipping the 2017 Malbec. The Petit Verdots on the left (from left-to-right, the 2017, 2016 and 2015.) Jason in the back.

The Friendship Blends

A unique thing that Jason does every year is to create a blend with friends of his. They get together, test out various blends (he tells a grander story), and create a wine together. Each gets named in a unique way, usually with a letter of their first names or last names.

Jason Long should be famous for his blends. The single varietals are fabulous by themselves, but his ability to create a truly balanced Bordeaux is his strongest trait. The 2014/2015 FAIKEN, with 8 bottles left was our target for the evening. Heather and I first fell for FAIKEN in 2018 when we first found Long Cellars, and we fell hard. The FAIKEN is a Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot blend of grabby tannins, dark red fruit, perfect acid, and a delightful boozy burn. The 2016 NEKEL, a bawdy and pungent Cabernet-dominant blend was second up and with 4 bottles available for purchase, and I recall buying at least half-a-case of it when it was made first available. Finally, we had the 2017 PAJJAM. The PAJJAM is a winner, but was released about 6 months ago, and was the only wine I wasn’t worried about getting a hold of. We still have one bottle, and with 18 cases available, it was just a pleasant thing to enjoy. I do love Merlot, and a Merlot dominant blend makes for a wonderful finisher on the afternoon.

A flight of 3 wines ready for tasting.
The three friendship blends, from left-to-right, 2017 PAJJAM, 2016 NEKEL, and 2014/2015 FAIKEN.

The End of the Party

Once again, to conclude the party Jason offered everyone the chance to purchase two bottles if they wanted to (via a raffle, to keep it fair). If anyone wanted more than two bottles then after all the other attendees else had a chance, they could do so.

Two bottles of the 2014/15 FAIKEN

We were able to grab two bottles of our favorite blend, the FAIKEN, and once everyone had their chance, I grabbed one more bottle of the 2016 Petit Verdot.

Wrapping Up

Two days with six wonderful hours of tasting, stories, food and conversation. I am so happy we were able to take six rare bottles home, and a celebrate a local winery. It was a great time and a great Father’s Day weekend.

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