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Den Hoed brothers unveil new wine project

FINLEY, Wash. — Grandview brothers Andy and Bill den Hoed are prepared to release the first wines made under their partnership with Long Shadows Vintners CEO Allen Shoup and Leavenworth, Wash., winemaker Rob Newsom.

Den Hoed Wine Estates is a tribute to the brothers' parents, Dutch immigrants who in 1956 began planting grapes in the Columbia Valley. The 2005 Marie's View red wine and the 2006 Andreas Cabernet Sauvignon are named in their honor.

The wines come from the stunning vineyard that overlooks the Columbia River near Wallula Gap in the Horse Heaven Hills. The den Hoeds planted the vineyard downstream from Finley, Wash. This partnership's initial production was tiny, just 134 cases produced of the red blend and 187 cases of the Cabernet Sauvignon. And there are no plans for a tasting room.

Shoup, former head of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, began working closely with the den Hoeds in 2002 after Shoup launched his famous Long Shadows project in Walla Walla. Fruit from the den Hoeds contributed to the Sequel Syrah made by Australian winemaker John Duval and the Feather Cabernet Sauvignon created by Napa Valley vintner Randy Dunn.

“What Long Shadows was doing was so exciting that my brother and I decided we wanted to do something equally exceptional,” Andy Den Hoed said in news release. “They convinced us that with the right winemaker we could excel as long as we concentrated on quality over quantity."

Until two years ago, the brothers owned approximately 1,500 acres of vineyards in the Yakima and Columbia valleys. In 2007, they sold about 700 acres of their vineyards in the Yakima Valley to the California-based Vintage Wine Trust, Inc.

A decade prior, the den Hoeds began creating Wallula Vineyard, which features an elevation drop of more than 1,000 feet from the upper reaches of the vineyard to the banks of the Columbia River.

In 2008, a Shoup-led group purchased 80 percent of that 750-acre site and renamed their parcels "The Benches." Den Hoed Wine Estates taps into "The Benches," with Marie's View coming off parcels with an elevation of 850 feet and Andreas hailing from a 1 1/4-acre block.

(Wallula Vineyard now refers to the first plantings as well as the biodynamic blocks created for Randall Grahm's Pacific Rim Winery in West Richland.)

Newsom, a native of Louisiana, quickly earned respect for the Cabernet Sauvignon he makes at his Boudreaux Cellars, along the Icicle River west of Wenatchee, Wash. His 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon was rated the No. 1 wine by Wine Press Northwest magazine during its 2006 judging of 128 Northwest-made Cabs. Newsom built the 2005 Marie’s View, a blend of Syrah (36%), Cabernet Sauvignon (24%), Merlot (16%), Cabernet Franc (12%) and Sangiovese.

Gilles Nicault — Shoup's in-house winemaker at Long Shadows — crafted the 2006 Andreas, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. According to spokeswoman Katie Sims, all future wines will be made by Newsom.

Both wines retail for $80 and are available via the Den Hoed Wine Estates Web site.