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Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2011

Merlot from St. Helena, Napa Valley, California
  • WE93
14.4% ABV
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14.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A sumptuous nose of bright plum, cherry, rose petal, mulberry and walnut introduces an enticing wine that sets the taste buds firing. The palate is layered and lush, expressing undulating waves of red fruit woven together by a rich mid-palate and vibrant acidity. 7% Cabernet Sauvignon from the volcanic Rim Rock block and the rocky Quartz Hill block were blended in to add depth and structure to the wine. While we often describe this Merlot as a "Cab lover's Merlot," the 2011 demonstrates what makes Merlot so lovely and special as a varietal wine – concentration, smooth but full texture, finesse and that elusive X factor that has "lusciousness."

Blend: 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Leathery on the tongue, this lovely Merlot, with 7% Cabernet Sauvignon blended in, offers inviting notes of plum and cherry, completely juicy, around firm, strong tannins and balanced acidity. From two separate, rocky blocks on the winery property, this wine is concentrated and smooth. Enjoy through 2021–2025.
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Pride Mountain Vineyards

Pride Mountain Vineyards

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Pride Mountain Vineyards, St. Helena, Napa Valley, 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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St. Helena

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St. Helena is in the heart of the Napa Valley, nestled between Calistoga to the north and Rutherford on its southern border. On its western side, the Mayacamas Mountains guard it from the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean; to its east stand the Vaca Mountains. In conjunction, these mountain ranges serve to lock in summer daytime heat. But in the evening, cool air from the San Pablo Bay funnels up through the valley, creating very chilly nights. It isn’t uncommon for temperatures to drop 50 degrees, a shift that promotes a balance of sugar ripeness and acidity in wine grapes.

St. Helena contains a plethora of different soil types in a small area, which have been enhanced over centuries by rain runoff from both mountain ranges. Its vineyards cover a variety of terrain, spreading across the bucolic valley floor and its benchlands.

These ideal topographic and climatic growing conditions easily caught the attention of early winemaking pioneers. In fact, St. Helena is the birthplace of Napa Valley’s commercial wine industry. Dr. Crane founded his cellar in 1859, David Fulton in 1860 and Charles Krug in 1861.

Today there are no less than 400 separate vineyards planted within the 12,000 acres that make up the St. Helena appellation.

Revered most for its red wines based on Bordeaux varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, the St. Helena appellation is also a source of superior Syrah, Zinfandel and Sauvignon blanc.

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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.

MRE153108_2011 Item# 153108