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Michel Rolland's Washington Bordeaux
Pedestal Merlot 04

Pedestal Merlot 04

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 Merlot. 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.

The previous, 2003 vintage of this wine received 94 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points from Connoisseur's Guide, 92 points from Wine Spectator, and 93 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Parker said about the previou vintage, 2003: "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.

Pedestal's Michel Rolland

Pedestal 2004
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

Pedestal 2004 Food Pairings

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 toasty 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


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