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Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2002

Merlot from North Coast, California
  • WS93
  • WE93
  • W&S93
  • RP90
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Inky black in color and profusely aromatic, cassis and chocolate shout from the glass. Take that first sip and ripe dark cherries and roasted coffee beans explode in your mouth, while the weight of the wine permeates your gums. Meaty and texturally dense, this is a wine to chew.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 93
Wine Spectator
Aromas of cedar, ripe berry fruit and hints of toasty oak offer solid clues as to what comes across on the palate. Intense and well-balanced, the supple blackberry and black cherry flavors pick up a nice dose of creamy mocha and toasty oak on the finish.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
What a fabulous Merlot. Yes, it’s dense in texture, like molten metal, with melted tannins, but it’s kept lively with clean acids. Meanwhile, the flavors are sheer mountain fruit: concentrated blackberries and cherries and decadent mocha. Complex, elegant and addictively good.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
Full and delicious, Pride's merlot achieves a balanced ripeness at the mountaintop border of Napa and Sonoma counties. The wine has density of fruit while it retains a spot-on varietal identity, a flavor of black cherry and rose petal jam. Tannins amplify the richness with a chocolate warmth, evenly meshed with the fruit across the palate. A pleasure to drink now with rare filet mignon, this is well suited to age.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2002 Merlot, which comes from both the Napa and Sonoma sides of the mountain, is elegant, with wonderfully sweet black cherry fruit intermixed with a hint of mocha, white chocolate, and some background sappy wood notes. Its beautiful integration of acidity and tannin make for an elegant, polished, and stunning Merlot to drink over the next decade.
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Pride Mountain Vineyards

Pride Mountain Vineyards

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Pride Mountain Vineyards, North Coast, California
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Pride Mountain Vineyards is situated on the Summit Ranch, one of Napa Valley's oldest grape producers atop Spring Mountain. With over 120 years of viticulture documented there, Jim and Carolyn Pride purchased Summit Ranch and their first vintage premiered in 1991. Today, Pride Mountain Vineyards produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Viognier and limited bottlings of Syrah and Sangiovese.
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North Coast

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Reaching up California's coastline and into its valleys north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake. While Napa and Sonoma enjoy most of the glory, the rest produce no shortage of quality wines in an intriguing and diverse range of styles.

Climbing up the state's rugged coastline, the chilly Marin County, just above the City and most of Sonoma County, as well as Mendocino County on the far north end of the North Coast successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in some spots, Riesling. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc produce some impressive wines with affordable price tags.

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An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.

LSB76085_2002 Item# 76085