2003 Pride Mountain Napa-Sonoma Counties Merlot (1.5L)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good deep red. Sweet nose offers raspberry, cherry and milk chocolate. Fat, lush and sweet, with a soft, pliant, immediately accessible texture and enticing flavors of ripe red fruits. Ripe and aromatic Merlot, finishing with dusty, sweet tannins and lovely length. (ST)
An openly seductive style, with ripe currant, blackberry and wild berry fruit shaded by splashy mocha and espresso bean oak flavors. It's complex and concentrated, but also quite tannic, so if you pull the cork tonight, decant an hour.
Intense, fully extracted cherry-like fruit moves quickly to center stage here and refuses to relinquish the spotlight to both the lavish oak and chocolate ripeness that, try as they might, never quite steal the scene. The wine admits to a few ragged edges and does let a touch of heat show through at the finish, but it is so tasty as to make moot those few concerns and a brief stay in cellar of some two to four years seems certain to smooth it out nicely.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A blend of 52% Napa and 48% Sonoma fruit (the vineyard traverses the county lines), the 2003 Merlot exhibits notes of sweet oak, mocha, and berry fruit in its pretty, elegant, tasty, medium-bodied, plump personality. (RP)