1999 Pride Mountain Napa/Sonoma Counties Merlot
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Ruby to the rim. Explosive aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, violet and bitter chocolate. Great sappy sweetness in the mouth: flavors of crushed and crystallized dark berries. Very long, powerful finish features strong but lush tannins. An uncanny combination of sweetness and structure.
***Editors' Choice*** What power and drama have gone into this wonderful wine. Sheer Pomerol, with pencil shaving, black cherry, cedar, chocolate and gamy-meaty aromas and flavors, tinged with violets, and the most voluptuous mouthfeel. Sheer hedonism right through the long sweet finish.
61% Napa County; 39% Sonoma County. 7% Cab. Sauvignon. We have long been admirers of the special richness shown by the best of Pride Mountain's red wines, and this year's Merlot hits all the right marks with its opulent display of concentrated fruit and creamy oak. Ripe, but never heavy, and wonderfully well-balanced from front to back, the wine is smooth and very supple on the palate with neatly integrated tannins lending just a touch of finishing grip. Its best may lie a few years down the road, and aging is enthusiastically recommended, but there are pleasures aplenty to be had even now for those whose patience is of the more limited sort.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1999 Merlot (a blend of 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc, 61% from Napa and 39% from Sonoma) is a wine of striking purity, balance, density, and intensity. A saturated ruby/purple color is accompanied by great fruit, medium to full body, and perfectly assimilated wood, acidity, tannin, and alcohol. Several more years of cellaring will result in even more joy. (RP)
A rich, sensual, complex and concentrated wine, with layers of brown sugar, mocha, red currant and spicy herbal notes, it gains momentum and richness on the finish. (JL)