Pedestal Merlot 2009
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
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.
Bright ruby-red. Very ripe aromas of black cherry, melted licorice and minerals. Sweet, ripe and strong, with a distinctly sappy quality to its black cherry and sexy oak flavors. This struck me as more masculine than the 2008 version and every bit as fresh--and in need of longer bottle aging. Finishes classically dry and long, with solid backbone.
'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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An intense, fruit-forward wine, bursting with fresh... View More
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production...
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.