The Long Shadows line is the brainchild of Chateau Ste. Michelle CEO Allen Shoup.
Allen came up with the idea of having some of the best winemakers in the world come on board to produce a single, exceptional, ultra-premium wine in the style that they produce best.
In this particular case, he tapped the talent of renowned winemaker Michel Rolland.
Michel Rolland is, without a doubt, one of the most talented producers of wine worldwide.
He is based out of Bordeaux in France but consults with hundreds of different wineries across thirteen different countries.
A very short list of his most notable clients includes Chateau Angélus, Chateau Pavie, Screaming Eagle, Harlan, and Bryant Family.
Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot Review
Pedestal Merlot was predominately grown on the Wahluke Slope, a warm area of the Columbia Valley that produces Merlot with layers of fresh, dark fruit and intense aromatics.
Smaller portions of the Merlot are sourced from the Dionysus Vineyard, as well as the Tapteil Vineyard, which is located on Red Mountain.
The wine is primarily Merlot, though, as he often does, Rolland blends just a touch of something extra in there.
In this particular case, something extra comes in the way of small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot to enhance the wine.
The wine is hand-harvested and then double-sorted before fermentation to remove any green materials that might impart harsh tannins.
All of this is aged for over 22 months in 86% new French oak.
The wine is an inky blueish purple in the glass and has an immediate sense of weight to it.
Dense, heavy legs are apparent, showcasing the heft of this wine before you ever put the glass to your lips.
Incredibly intense yet fresh, the aromatics from this bottle are unreal. Ripe blueberries, wild cherries, dried violets, and dark chocolate are some of the first things to note.
After that, you get bits of baking spice and coffee, with just a hint of leather which lingers in the background.
Simply incredible. Dried cherries, macerated blueberries, and raspberries all mingle nicely together on the palate.
All of this fruit is remarkably fresh and is intensified with notes of coffee, cocoa powder, cedar, and spice, which lend some nice depth to the bottle without removing any freshness.
That said, it is a powerhouse through and through. Firm tannins, a heavy mouthfeel, and nice acidity help to tie everything together and give the wine a sense of seriousness.
It drinks quite well now, as do all of the current Long Shadow releases, but it will benefit from age if you have the patience to cellar this bottle.
What does Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot pair with?
This wine pairs particularly well with richer dishes compared to your average Merlot.
I am personally a fan of matching power with power and doing a nice roasted duck to really bring out the opulent dark fruit and rich chocolate notes from this bottle.
You could also do leaner cuts of meat, such as Angus roast beef or very lean ground beef.
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, then this wine also has you covered! It will go fantastically with any dishes featuring dark chocolate, such as black forest cake.
The dried cherry notes in the wine are nicely accentuated by the richness of the cherry flavors from the cake, and the plentiful oak and dark chocolate notes make this an absolutely heavenly combination.
What wines are similar to Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot?
Personally, I find it difficult to get my hands on exceptional new-world Merlot, so this is a bit of a tough one.
I would recommend reaching for The Velvet Devil by Charles Smith or Vampire Vineyards Merlot.
You could also look into some of Michel Rolland’s South American portfolio to stay in the same general ballpark.
I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. It does everything a good Merlot ought to and is a fun little collaboration between one of the best oenologists in Bordeaux and one of the most prolific producers in Washington state.
Overall, a ten out of ten.