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Rolland Michel

The French oenologist Michel Rolland (*1947) comes from a family of winemakers working in the Pomerol region. After training at the viticultural school of the famous Château La Tour Blanche, he studied at the University of Bordeaux until 1972. At that time, the famous oenologists Pascal Ribéreau-Gayon (1930-2011) and Émile Peynaud (1912-2004) were professors there who had a decisive influence on him. Rolland is one of the most sought-after consultants in the wine world. From the late 1970s onwards, his reputation was established with wineries on the Rive droite (right bank) in the Bordelais, where red wines with a high proportion of Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate. His worldwide rise as a leading Flying Winemaker came at the same time as his friend, the American wine critic Robert Parker (*1947), who also began his career at this time.

The style represented by Rolland are deep-coloured, extract-rich, alcohol-rich, smooth red wines from highly mature grapes with strong use of new barrique barrels, but with consideration of the respective terroir. This is often characterised by a sweetness sensation caused by wood and high alcohol content. In the interplay with Parker's wine evaluations, both have thus exerted a major influence on vinification methods worldwide. The documentary film "Mondovino" by US filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter, which won an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, shows the effects of globalisation on the various wine regions of the world. In it, Rolland and Parker are portrayed as downright diabolical protagonists of a worldwide wine uniform with so-called Coca-Cola wines, which, according to experts, is not justified. Because the diversity of the wines of the wineries advised by Rolland proves exactly the opposite. Nor is he, as shown in the film, an unconditional advocate of micro-oxigenation.

Michel Rolland and his wife Dany founded the consulting company "Laboratoire Rolland" in Saint Émilion in 1973, offering a wide range of analytical services for wine-growing enterprises. The family owns several wineries. These are the ancestral estate Château Le Bon Pasteur (Pomerol), Château Bertineau St. Vincent (Lalande de Pomerol), Château Rolland-Maillet (St-Émilion), Château La Grande Clotte (Lussac-St-Émilion) and Château Fontenil (Fronsac), which already belonged to Rolland's grandfather. In addition, there are rushes and joint ventures with various wineries in Spain, Argentina and South Africa.

Stammweingut Château Le Bon Pasteur (Pomerol)

Rolland was active on all continents for well over 100 companies. The supported wineries read like a Who is Who of the international wine world. In France these were, among others Château Angélus, Château Ausone, Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot, Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarosse, Château Belgrave, Château Bonalgue, Château Canon, Château Citran Château Clinet, Château de Camensac, Château Destieux, Château Figeac, Château Kirwan, Château La Gaffelière, Château La Dominique, Château Larmande, Château Laroque, Château Lascombes, Château La Tour-Carnet, Château La Tour-Martillac, Château Léoville-Poyferré, Château Le Pin, Château L'Évangile, Château Malescot Saint-Exupéry Château Pape-Clément, Château Pavie, Château Pontet-Canet, Château Prieuré-Lichine, Château Puech-Haut, Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Château Troplong-Mondot and Château Valandraud Others have included Marqués de Griñón (Spain) and Ornellaia (Italy) in Europe, and overseas Lapostolle (Chile), Simi Winery (California) and Trapiche (Argentina).

In May 2020, Michel Rolland handed over the majority of his company to his employees. In future, it will bear the name "Rolland et Associés". The 230 or so customers are now served by his oenologists Julien Viaud, Mikael Laizet and Jean-Philippe Fort. The winemaker and his wife Dany now sit on the company's supervisory board. Rolland continues to advise some long-standing clients and is dedicated primarily to tasting.

By Megan Mallen - Flickr: Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, CC BY 2.0, Link

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