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Pedestal Merlot 2011


Winery:
Long Shadows


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Review:

The 2008 Pedestal is still available, the 2009 is the new vintage. Call to order 2008.

#11 in Wine Spectator's
Top 100 Wines of 2012

Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2012 came out today - perched at #11 is Pedestal Merlot 09 from Walla Walla's Long Shadows Winery. This awesome Merlot is robust and age-worthy. We just pulled a 2004 Pedestal Merlot from our cellar Tuesday night and it was fantastic!

2009 Wine Spectator - 95 points - This red is round, generous and expressive, offering plum, loganberry, cherry and clove flavors that pick up hints of loam and floral character as the finish tightens its focus. Impressive for its length and deft balance. Best from 2013 through 2019. 1,994 cases made. - H.S.

below, world famous winemaker Michel Rolland,
who makes the Pedestal Merlot for Long Shadows

Pedestal winemaker Michel Roland

Michel Rolland is the world's most prominent winemaker, traveling among the world's top wineries to consult on the makeup of their finest wines. In Washington State, he makes one wine - Pedestal.

2008 Vintage Tasting Notes

2008 Wine Advocate - 93 points - The 2008 Pedestal Merlot is fashioned by the peripatetic Michel Rolland. Made up of 81% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it was aged for 22 months in 85% new French oak. It reveals a nose of cedar, Asian spices, incense, cassis, and black currant. Structured and savory on the palate with spicy black fruit flavors, it has the balance to evolve gracefully for 2-3 years and will offer prime drinking from 2013 to 2023. - Jay Miller

2008 Wine Spectator - 92 points - Firm in texture, with a moderate grip of tannins surrounding dark berry, black currant and licorice flavors, lingering gently and persistently. One sip demands another. Best from 2012 through 2016. 2,012 cases made.

2007 Vintage Tasting Notes

2007 Wine Advocate - 94 points - The 2007 Pedestal Merlot is the project of Michel Rolland. This latest release is composed of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot aged for 20 months in 80% new French oak. It reveals a fragrant nose of sandalwood, incense, sage, cinnamon, black cherry, and black currant. Elegant on the palate despite its ample size, it is loaded with succulent fruit set off by enough ripe tannin to support an additional 3-4 years of cellaring. It will deliver prime drinking from 2013 to 2027. - Josh Raynolds

2006 Vintage Tasting Notes

2006 Wine Spectator - 91 points - and spicy, with a tarry edge to the blackberry and currant fruit, emerging on the never-ending finish with richness, polish and elements of spice, pepper and an extra whoosh of cherry. It all keeps sailing effortlessly. Best from 2011 through 2018. - H.S.

An intense, fruit forward wine, bursting with dark cherries, ripe plum, dark chocolate and spice. Good concentration in the wine adds to its pleasing mouth feel; balanced acidity enhances its appeal. Supple tannins are well-integrated on the entry, across the mid-palate and throughout the long, layered finish. - the winery

2005 Vintage Tasting Notes

Pedestal Merlot 05 opens with amazingly deep, yet elegant aromas of black cherries, black berries, fresh ground coffee, and clay. A saturated palate of layered fruit, with ripe currant and plum taking the lead and black cherry and blueberry singing backup. Tarragon and tobacco mix with dark cocoa and currant on the powerfully long finish, adding hints of spice. Within minutes, the opulent style of Rolland's Pedestal begins to show.

The Pedestal is an impressively integrated, balanced wine that will age gracefully for at least a decade. Last vintage, we compared the Pedestal to an Aston Martin sports car. To continue the analogy, people, start your verticals!

2004 Vintage Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes: Dark cherry and blackberry aromas compliment an appealing hint of toasty oak in this dense, deeply concentrated Merlot. Rich at entry, with added intensity on the mid-palate, the finish provides a lingering impression of layered black fruit.

Vintage: Ideal growing conditions in 2005 produced expressive, lush wines, and the 2005 Pedestal, a bold, deeply concentrated Merlot with ripe tannins, reflects the quality of the vintage.

Temperatures were warm throughout July and August building sugars in the grapes, and then as if made to order, the vintage slipped into an ideal ripening pattern. Vines carrying a moderate crop load enjoyed warm daytime and cool nighttime temperatures throughout September and October, ripening the grapes slowly and evenly, resulting in a classic Columbia Valley vintage.

Winemaking: Hand harvested grapes were gently de-stemmed and fermented to avoid harsh tannins and preserve fruit character, then moved to French oak barrels for 22 months. Rolland carefully selected the coopers calling for Merlot to age in Sylvain barrels for elegance and to help polish the mid-palate; Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc rested in Taransaud and Saury barrels to stand-up to the wines' tannins and impart density and richness. During blending, Rolland paid special attention to the mouth feel of the wine with the intent of crafting a wine with great depth and suppleness.

Vineyards: Working with diverse vineyard sources, Rolland selected Merlot from two warm sites - Candy Mountain and Weinbau Vineyard (50%) - to give the wine bold, rich character. Conner Lee and Dionysus Vineyard (37%) contributed bright cherry, dark berries and supple tannins. Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (13%) enhanced the wine's structure, and Cabernet Franc (7%) contributed a pretty floral note and added elegance.

2004 Wine Advocate - 94 points - Among the varietal wines, the 2004 Pedestal Merlot is made by the peripatetic Michel Rolland whose home base is Pomerol. His wine also contains small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, all the fruit sourced from several vineyards and AVAs with yields in the range of 1-2 tons per acre. The wine was aged in French oak for 23 months. Opaque purple in color, this superb Merlot offers a classic perfume of pain grille, spice box, black cherry, and blackberry. This is followed by a rich, intensely flavored wine with great depth, concentration, and length. All components are nicely integrated with enough underlying structure to support 5-7 years of further evolution. The long, pure finish suggests that this Merlot will drink well through 2040. Long Shadows is a winery begun by Alan Shoup, the long-time CEO of Stimson Lane and Chateau Saint Michelle. It is a consortium of seven different brands (labels), each with its own star winemaker who has a 25% share in the brand. The concept is that each is dedicated to producing a single Columbia Valley wine representing a 'best of type' that reflects the winemaker's signature style.

2004 Wine Spectator - 93 points - Dense and focused, yet balances deftly enough to let the currant, cherry and black raspberry fruit pierce through a veil of crisp tannins. Has power without excessive weight. The finish lingers extraordinarily well. Best from 2009 through 2014. 1,624 cases made. - H.S.

PEDESTAL MERLOT

77% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot

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

Pair with: Grilled Flank steak with summer berry compote or grilled mixed earthy and sweet vegetables like carrots and rutabaga. Lots of concentrated layers of sweet tobacco leaf and toast oak with nice acidity fits well with a meaty steak lightened by the berry sauce and grilled to mirror the scent of smoke. For vegetarians, a hearty mix of earthy and sweet vegetables will give the heft of meat and find the sweet essence and smoke present in the wine. - amy

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 finish.

Vintage: Because of a harsh January freeze that left everyone anxious about damage to the vines, the 2004 vintage required meticulous care in the vineyard. Those who did, including Long Shadows vintners, were rewarded with wonderfully ripe, well-balanced wines. We asked growers to prune to two buds in the early spring, thin at bloom, thin again and drop green clusters at verasion; and finally, leaf thin in September to open up the canopy and promote even ripening. As a result, Long Shadows' blocks averaged 1 - 2 tons per acre, just slightly less than a "typical" year. This, combined with warm summer temperatures and an extended growing season proved ideal conditions for ripening grapes fully, yielding flavorful, balanced wines.

Winemaking: Grapes were allowed to hang as long as possible for extra richness and ripeness, then hand-harvested and delivered to the winery where the fruit was de-stemmed but not crushed to avoid harsh tannins and preserve fruit character. After fermentation, grapes were moved to French oak barrels for 23 months. Rolland carefully selected the coopers himself calling for Merlot to age in Sylvain barrels for elegance and to help polish the mid-palate; Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc rested in Seguin Moreau and Saury barrels to stand-up to the wines' tannins and impart density and richness.

Vineyards: Pedestal's 2004 vineyard sources were selected to produce a rich, jammy, fruit-forward wine. Primary vineyard sources included Alder Ridge (30%) in the Horse Heaven Hills, giving the wine elegance and wonderful aromatics, Weinbau Vineyard (24%) on the Wahluke Slope adding ripe black fruit and richness and Wallula Vineyard (21%), delivering deep flavors and complexity.

2003 Vintage Tasting Notes

2003 Wine Advocate - 94 points - None other than Michel Rolland, of Pomerol and flying winemaker fame, is at the helm of this Long Shadows consortium winery. A firm believer in ripe tannin and gentle winemaking to promote fruit flavors and avoid harshness or edginess, Rolland must have loved the long hang-times possible in Washington State's Columbia Valley. The 2003 Pedestal (553 cases) sports a deep nose of ripe cherries and toasty oak. Fashioned from 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot, this beauty broadens on the palate to reveal lush layers of thick, silky-textured red fruits. Pure, concentrated, and medium to full-bodied, it is an engaging, hedonistic wine. Drink it over the next 12-15 years.

2003 Wine Spectator - 92 points - Big, rich and generous, a lavish mouthful of currant, blackberry and a touch of spice and earth that weave through the finish and linger. First wine from a partnership involving Michel Rolland in Washington. Best from 2007 through 2013. - H.S.

Layers of rich currant and blueberry flavors, complimented by hints of mocha, cedar and spice. Pedestal is a uniquely structured wine that offers an alluring balance of intensity and finesse.

Michel crafted Pedestal with Merlot from the Alder Ridge, Dionysus and Conner Lee Vineyards. Alder Ridge produces elegant fruit that captures the aromas of the Horse Heaven Hills terroir. The mature plantings of Dionysus, with their developed roots, supply dense, dark fruit - and Conner Lee contributes acid balance and enhanced black fruit characteristics. Cabernet Sauvignon from the Yakima Valley adds structure and a small percentage of grapes from Ciel du Cheval on Red Mountain provide extra balance and depth.

75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot.

Known for his penchant for rich, jammy, fruit-forward wines, Michel found the Columbia Valley's 2003 vintage exactly to his liking. This was one of Washington's warmest seasons on record with overall heat accumulation rivaling the high numbers posted in 1998. Temperatures were consistently warm from June through August giving the vines time to acclimate to the temperatures and allowing grapes and flavors to ripen at an even pace. In short, 2003 was another remarkable Columbia Valley vintage from start to finish and a perfect year for Rolland to style a complex, showy wine exactly to his taste.

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