2005 Pride Mountain "Reserve" Sonoma/Napa Counties Claret
Among the richest and most outgoing wines in this issue, Pride's Reserve Claret is a fully extravagant wine that trades equally on deep fruit, ripeness and a wealth of lavish oak spice, but it never crosses over the line of being too much. Its tantalizing plumpness and succulent Merlot properties are offset just now by a bit of Cabernet toughness that prescribes a bit of patience, and make no mistake about it, this compelling effort is certainly bound for better, and it will continue to unfold for six to twelve years and last longer.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A 500-case blend of 56% Napa fruit and 44% Sonoma fruit, the 2005 Reserve Claret (66% Merlot and 34% Cabernet Sauvignon) is a brilliant wine for the vintage. Its deep ruby/purple hue is followed by aromas of smoked herbs, black currants, blackberries, espresso roast, chocolate, and oak. The wine is gorgeously textured and opulent, with a sumptuous, long finish. It is drinking splendidly well, and should continue to do so for a decade or more.
This Bordeaux blend is enormously rich and densely concentrated in mountain fruitiness. It explodes with blackberry, black currant, chocolate, orange zest, roasted almond and sweet new oak flavors, wrapped into extraordinarily fine tannins. Shows a bit of sharpness that could indicate a mild level of volatility. But it’s a dramatic wine that should live for many, many years.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
($125; bottled in December of 2007; essentially a blend of two-thirds Vintner Select merlot and one-third reserve cabernet) Good medium ruby. Complex nose melds raspberry, tobacco, caramel and loam. Sweet but youthfully tight, with very good lift to the flavors of raspberry, graphite, cumin and turmeric. Plenty of cabernet structure here. Finishes with substantial dusty tannins. "Our biggest and most intense mountain-style wine," notes Steve Pride, adding that this wine was unapproachable early on.
A seductive style, offering complex layers of mocha and cedary oak alongside ripe, intense currant and wild berry fruit that's tight, focused, full-bodied and persistent on the finish. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2017.
The cult following for Pride Mountain has been in full force for years now. Situated high up at the top of Spring Mountain, the winery straddles the Sonoma/Napa county line and commands a spectacular view of Mount St Helena. The property was a winery well over 100 years ago, and now produces some of the more sought after wines in California. The reviewers tend to agree with the collectors, as the wines regularly achieve fantastic scores in numerous respected publications