Michel Rolland – Flying Winemaker

(Apr. 8, 2015) — In this age of discovery of new wine regions, new sites and new ventures by famous names, there are many who could be called “flying winemakers” (and yes, we had a Jean-Michel Cazes event a while ago). But can anyone be considered as accomplished and influential in the modern evolution of top-end red wines as Michel Rolland? Winemaker, multi-estate owner and the uber-consultant everyone wants, Rolland started with his original Pomerol estate (Bon Pasteur) and now has ownership in 5 Bordeaux chateaux, 4 domaines in Spain, Argentina and South Africa, and has consulted to close to 100 Bordeaux estates and over 40 other winemaking concerns world-wide.

But more importantly, his work has led to the Rolland “style” of intense, expressive red wines in the international, hedonistic style of big fruit and big oak, the kind that continues to get rave reviews from the likes of Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator, while also generating much debate and differing opinions from others on the merits of this style versus more traditional approaches.

The focus of this tasting will be to see how the Rolland style has worked its way into wines that he has made or helped make in various countries, and whether the winemaker’s hand has greater influence than the terroir or the location of the vineyard, or even grape types (also how these wines age). To that end, we will taste:

  • France (Bordeaux) – 2004 Chateau Bon Pasteur (his original Pomerol estate) and2003 Chateau Fontenil (Fronsac, current Rolland home estate) – both Bordeaux blends with merlot dominating
  • Spain – 2003 Campo Eliseo (Toro, partnership with Lurton) – made from tinto de toro (aka tempranillo)
  • Argentina – 2003 Yacochuya, 2008 Diamandes de Uco Gran Reserva (Clos de la Siete group) – both malbec
  • Chile – 2004 Casa Lapostolle Merlot, Cuvée Alexandre, Apalta Vineyard
  • South Africa – 2003 Bonne Nouvelle – merlot-dominated blend

And to fully illustrate the Rolland effect, we will also include another Pomerol wine where Michel Rolland was not involved, namely the more traditional, elegant 2005 Chateau La Fleur Petrus, plus of course, our mystery wine.

Is the big gutsy Rolland style for you? Maybe you will never know for sure unless you come, compare and decide for yourself. We look forward to seeing you then.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume. Using public transit is strongly encouraged.

Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 North York Memorial Community Hall
Time: 6:30 p.m. 5110 Yonge St. (under library)
Limit: 132 people North York Centre Subway
Members: $55 (incl. HST) Guests: $68 (incl. HST)

Cancellations accepted up to April 3, 2015. See the event form for cancellation contact details. No reservations by phone, please. No confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. First come basis. Non-members may attend at guest rates, but preference will be given to members.

Download the event form if you wish to mail in your reservation cheque.