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Pine Ridge Onyx 1999

Other Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • WS88
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Winemaker Notes

Long known for our passion for Bordeaux varietals, we have expanded our portfolio to include our first wine blended from the classic and ancient varietals of the Cahors region of France. This release of Onyx is a blend of 54% Malbec, 23% Tannat, and 23% Merlot, all grown in our narrow-spaced, densely planted, hillside vineyards at our Rutherford Ridge Estate. The black wines of Cahors, by tradition and appellation law, can be produced from 70% Malbec, and only 30% Merlot and/or Tannat. It is our intent to follow the principle of this ancient tradition, with Malbec as the predominant varietal. This densely-colored red black wine opens with sweet, silky, round fresh red and black fruits. Among red currants, blackberries and cream, cola, and tobacco, is a hint of briar and raspberry tea. Experience a smooth lingering smoky, blackberry and black pepper finish in this medium bodied wine. Enjoy now or cellar for the next five to ten years.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 88
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Pine Ridge

Pine Ridge

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Pine Ridge, Napa Valley, California
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In 1978 , a remarkable vineyard took shape alongside a deep pine forest that climbs the western hillside of Napa Valley’s storied Stags Leap District. Today, nestled in a small valley along the Silverado Trail, the carefully maintained and terraced slopes of Pine Ridge Vineyards blend gracefully with the natural rise and fall of the land. Year after year, the wines of Pine Ridge carry a sense of this place and its history. Continuity, balance and meticulous craftsmanship are inherent in the wines and deeply embedded in the winery's heritage. Each vintage reflects the distinct characteristics of the appellation and a focused commitment to refinement that reaches across the years, from the founding of the winery to today.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

SWS81484_1999 Item# 50512