Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot Washington Columbia Valley 2009
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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.