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Pedestal Merlot 2009

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WS95
  • RP91
14.9% ABV
  • WE91
  • V92
  • WE90
  • RP94
  • RP94
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • WE91
  • RP94
  • WS93
  • WE92
  • CG96
  • RP94
  • WS93
  • RP94
  • WE91
  • WS90
  • CG95
  • RP94
  • WS93
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3.0 3 Ratings
14.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

#11 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2012

Rich and expressive, yet graceful, this intensely aromatic Merlot displays a wide array of mouthwatering flavors, including ripe blackberries, dark plum and baker's chocolate. Sweet tannins and a velvety texture persist across a lengthy finish.

Blend: 83% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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WS 95
Wine Spectator
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.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
'It's a blending grape,' Shoup continues to maintain about Merlot, 'and has to be grown in really special ways to achieve greatness standing alone' – he should surely have added: 'in special places' – but, nonetheless, he felt that given its status as something of a signature grape for Washington, he should (to hear him tell, with considerable effort) persuade Michel Rolland to render a Merlot showcase, of which 2009 Pedestal is the latest installment, prominently featuring Red Mountain fruit, while involving small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and (for the first time) Malbec. Scents of cherry preserves, mint, peat, espresso roast, toasted coconut and caramelized resin, presage a correspondingly complex, torrefied and confitured palate impression. The polish and plushness here are impressive as is the wine's sheer sweet and smoky length, though a hint of heat does creep into the finish from 14.9% alcohol. This definitely should be served no warmer than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. I imagine it will remain fresh for at least the better part of a decade.
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Pedestal

Pedestal

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Pedestal, Columbia Valley, Washington
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Michel Rolland crafts wines for many of the world’s most famous wineries, but his roots come from Pomerol, home to Bordeaux’s finest Merlots. In partnership with Washington wine visionary Allen Shoup, Michel has created a Columbia Valley Merlot that exemplifies the complexity and concentration of flavors for which his wines are internationally known. Pedestal is one of six distinct red wines from the Long Shadows Vintners collection.

An intense, fruit-forward wine, bursting with fresh blueberries, ripe plum, cedar 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 a long, layered finish.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

WAL409351_2009 Item# 120652