Michel Rolland, possibly the most influential winemaker in the field, takes the lowly Merlot grape to heights rarely seen in the US with his annual production of Pedestal. Choosing from the best grapes grown in Washington State, he crafts a multi-dimensional, multi-layered, ageable wine reminiscent of Pomerol (where he lives) but containing characteristics unique to the Pacific Northwest.
Rolland is not a technician – he is, first and foremost, an observer. In uncanny fashion, Rolland understands the location and situation unique to wine from a particular area - and therefore the nuances that separate an uneventful wine from something quite exciting. It is this ability to understand the wine that makes him the oenologist extraordinaire that he is, and a legend in his time.
More About Pedestal Merlot
In the case of Pedestal, he brings out flavors and scents that make the wine quintessentially Washington State, to a level of depth and complexity too often missed. It's ironic that a Frenchman comes to Washington and produces a wine that offers such a profound presentation of Washington Merlot at its best.
The 2003 vintage of this wine received 94 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 92 points from Wine Spectator, 95 points from Connoisseurs Guide, and 93 points from Wine Enthusiast. Read 2003 reviews below.
The 2004 Vintage
Avalon Wine's Tasting Notes
The Pedestal Merlot '04 is an impressive wine from the beginning, from its ornate label to the deep color of the wine. Stunning, classic Washington Merlot aromas of plums, cassis, and tobacco leaf explode from the glass, nicely framed by a toasty blue-fruit-vanilla-bean perfume.
This is an opulent, expansive Merlot with flavors of ripe plums, sweet blueberry, dark cherries, and cassis, giving way to leather, minerals and more fruit layers on the finish. Lively acidity and super-fine tannins provide a structure that will reward years in the cellar. With time in the glass, the Pedestal's depth evolves as darker fruit and barrel spices show.
This is a highly-collectible, Aston Martin of a Merlot--beautifully-styled, rare, powerful, crafted impeccably. -marcus
Nose- Intense scent of black fruit, sweet & rich tobacco leaf, spicy cedar incense, and toast.
Flavors- Tremendously complex layering makes this everything most new world Merlot is not- this is not a simple wine by any measure. Layers of different berry, cherry, and currant fruit flavors mingle with toasted espresso bean, bittersweet cocoa, exotic cedar incense and spice, and vanilla bean. The flavors are complemented by a lush, velvety mouthfeel, an uplifting, refreshing acidity that accentuates the complexity of the wine, and beautifully integrated tannins, balanced and unobtrusive, but present and indicating that this will be along-lived wine.
Such a rich, lush wine can be out of balance, but not this one. The big, uplifting acidity matches the silky tannins and huge flavors, reiterating the complexity and suitability for aging. The wine has a remarkable complexity of layers and range of flavors.
Finish- On the finish, hints of fresh saddle leather and minerals add to the fruit flavors. As the fruit diminishes, the sense of intense spice, sweet tobacco, and bittersweet chocolate become more pronounced.
Hype aside, this is one of the best wines ever made in Washington State. Michel Rolland marries his deep knowledge of Bordeaux with the flamboyant richness, intensity, and ripeness of the New World in this Petrus-like wine.
This wine is a complex, satisfying showstopper. -jean
Michel Rolland (at Right) with Longshadows winemaker Gilles Nicault
Tasting Notes: Intense cherry,
blackberry and baking spice aromas and flavors are
woven throughout layers of ripe tannins resulting
in a full bodied Merlot with a great concentration
of flavors and richness that carry across a lengthy