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Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2003

Merlot from North Coast, California
  • WS92
  • CG90
0% ABV
  • JD90
  • WE90
  • WE91
  • RP90
  • WE93
  • RP90
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  • CG92
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  • CG91
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  • W&S93
  • RP90
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Winemaker Notes

Built more like a Cabernet Sauvignon than a Merlot, this powerhouse vintage of 100% Merlot is as firm and extracted as can be, with an amazing concentration of color, ripe black fruit flavors and aromas. Currant and cassis, cocoa and espresso bean elements are jam-packed into this gentle giant, coating the entire palate with soft chewy tannins that melt away in a two-minute long finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 92
Wine Spectator
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. Drink now through 2012. 5,200 cases made.
CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide
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.
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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.

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.

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.

PDG120440_2003 Item# 120440