2003 Pride Mountain "Reserve" Sonoma-Napa Counties Claret
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2003 Reserve Claret is a blend of 67% Merlot and 33% Cabernet Sauvignon that achieved 14.4% alcohol. An exquisite candidate for wine of the vintage, it comes from a vineyard high on the summit of Spring Mountain. Eighty-three percent of the fruit comes from Sonoma and the rest from Napa County as the vineyard sits astride the county lines. Its dark plum/garnet color reveals a slight lightening at the edge. A beautiful nose of cedarwood, forest floor, red and black currants, kirsch and plum is followed by a full-bodied wine with great freshness, a rich, textured mouthfeel and sensational concentration with no heaviness. This is an uplifting, quintessential mountain Cabernet Sauvignon that outperforms the vintage. Just entering its plateau of full maturity, it can be drunk now and over the next decade. (RP)
*Editor's Choice* If you’re lucky enough to try this with Pride’s reserve Cab, which is 100% varietal, you’ll find this one fleshier and meatier. Based on Merlot, it shows a voluptuous fatness, a chocolate-covered cherry candy immediacy, that makes it drinkable now. At the same time, it has big, dusty, mouth-coating tannins. Drink now, with decanting, or cellar for 10 years.
*Two Stars* Enormously fruity and unstinting in its use of lavish oak, this dense, deeply constituted wine is simply bursting with Merlot's juicy, cherry-like qualities while showing Cabernet influence in its slightly tough structure. There is no getting around the fact that it fails to fully hide all of its heat, but its stunning impressions of richness and range and its essential balance more than make up for its youthful lack of refinement. It is a successful and genuinely exciting wine with a long-term future ahead of it.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good deep red-ruby. Superripe aromas of plum, currant, mocha, lead pencil and chocolate; this reminded me of a head-spinning old vintage of Chateau Lafleur. Supersweet and downright liqueur-like, with near-confectionery flavors of plum and nutty oak. Wonderfully lush, seamless wine. Not particularly primary but the wine's boatload of sweet tannins and superb persistence suggest it will provide at least six to eight years of pleasure. (ST)
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.