Pedestal Merlot 2011
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Michel Rolland, Pomerol vintner and consultant to many of the world’s top wineries, provides the vision for this limited release wine. 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.
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 and balanced acidity enhances its appeal. Supple tannins are well-integrated on the entry, across the mid-palate and throughout a long, layered finish.
Pedestal is one of six distinct red wines from Long Shadows Vintners - a collection of seven ultra-premium wines, each built on the unique expertise of some of the world’s most knowledgeable winemakers to showcase the quality and caliber of Washington State’s Columbia Valley.
Since the beginning, Long Shadows' Director of Winemaking and Viticulture Gilles Nicault, has overseen the operations of the winery and worked closely with the vintners to bring each winemaker’s vision to completion. Internationally renowned winemakers Randy Dunn (Feather Cabernet Sauvignon); John Duval (Sequel Syrah); Philippe Melka (Pirouette Red Wine); and Michel Rolland (Pedestal Merlot) are active partners in their respective wines. Gilles now crafts Poet’s Leap Riesling and Saggi, a Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, in styles that remain true to their original winemakers, Armin Diel and Giovanni Folonari respectively. Gilles crafts Chester-Kidder, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend, independently.
Gilles works closely with the state’s top growers to execute a diverse winemaking protocol at Long Shadows’ state-of-the-art facility in Walla Walla to produce wines of exceptional quality, true to the Columbia Valley’s terroir.
A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing 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 even extends into northern Oregon!
Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. 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 entire 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. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.