Michel Rolland is a wine consultant (and a very expensive one at that) to more than 100 wineries in 13 countries. He is the epitome of the flying winemaker. His stylistic favorings are aligned with the of Robert Parker — so his huge fees usually deliver higher scores from Parker and increase sales.
Does he produce some great wines? Yes, he does — at least in my opinion. Does he take some of the art/tradition out of winemaking and make it more of a science/equation? Probably — and while I hate to simply dismiss it as a sign of the times, it is very much the same type of thing we are seeing in many other industries.
This effort froml Rolland, the 2005 Episode One, the first installment of an interesting project entitled “The Winemakers” collection. The project was instituted by the Bordeaux negociant, Bordeaux Millesimes, under the moniker of “Once Upon a Wine.” Each year a wine will be made based on one parcel of vines from Chateau d’Arsac, and the concept involves one of the world’s most respected winemakers for each vintage. In 2006 the torch will be passed to Denis Dubourdieu.
Obviously this is very young — and needs time in the bottle to mature. Bright cherry and rubarb and some graphite and asphalt with a bit of smoke — excellent balance, acidity, purity, and a clean, long finish……It will be interesting to see how this evolves, but my initial impression is very good, though I was not overwhelmed.