2013 Pedestal Merlot
Michel Rolland, Pomerol vintner and consultant to many of the world's top wineries, teamed with Washington State wine visionary Allen Shoup to produce this limited release wine.
The 2013 growing season started with an early bud break followed by consistently dry, warm weather that lasted until rainfall moved across the Columbia Valley in mid-June. The precipitation allowed the vines to establish a solid canopy that proved useful when temperatures reached 100 degrees immediately following the rains. With a protective exterior canopy, we were able to open the interior canopy to allow uniform ripening in the fruit zone. As temperatures cooled in September, the extended hang time allowed grape flavors to fully mature.
This deeply concentrated wine boasts rich, ripe aromas of blackberry cobbler and violets complemented by intriguing spice components. The lush, complex palate is balanced beautifully by ample acidity and creamy oak nuances. Tannins are firm, yet supple and will integrate seamlessly as the wine ages.
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A blend of equal parts Merlot from three distinct vineyards: Conner Lee Vineyard brings dark cherry flavors; Dionysus Vineyard adds to the wine’s elegant mouthfeel and deep color; The Benches Vineyard Merlot contributes refined texture. Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from Taptiel Vineyard gives the wine its richness and structure. Weinbau Cabernet Franc provides an added layer of complexity and character.
Michel Rolland is considered by many to be one of the most influential winemakers in the field. A graduate of the esteemed Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology, he continues to build upon this practical source of knowledge through observations in his own laboratory in Pomerol, France. He consults for over 100 vintners and vineyards worldwide, producing wines with an alluring style recognized as the “Rolland Method”.
Rolland also maintains partnership interests in far-flung regions of the globe, including his involvement with Long Shadows Vintners. His home, however, is in Pomerol, where he owns and manages a number of holdings and fine wine estates: Chateau Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol, Chateau Bertineau Saint-Vincent in Lalande-de-Pomerol, Chateau Rolland-Maillet in Saint-Emilion, and Chateau Fontenil in Fronsac. In addition, Michel manages the Chateau La Grande Clottee in Lussac-Saint-Emilion under a vineyard lease system.
Vineyard management techniques championed by Rolland include effeuillage (thinning of leaves), and eclaircissage (pruning of clusters), both used to encourage the advent of perfectly ripened grapes. Aging on the lees in new oak barrels and in-barrel malolactic fermentation are also Rolland’s trademarks.
However, those who view the “Rolland Method” as a craftsman’s book of recipes have missed the mark. Rolland is not a technician – he is, first and foremost, an observer. He studies the surround, that is, the blend of personality traits that distinguishes the vintner, the vineyard, and the grower. In uncanny fashion, Rolland understands the unique culture of the wine - and therefore the nuances that separate an unexciting wine from something quite extraordinary. It is this ability to understand the wine that makes him such an amazing oenologist.
Michel is usually winging his way to a vineyard in some far corner of the world. However, he makes a point of returning home each year to celebrate the birthdays of his two daughters, Marie and Stephanie, and grandchildren, Camille, Arthur, Theo and Raphael.