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Flat front label of wine

Pride Mountain Vineyards Vintner Select Merlot 2004

Merlot from Sonoma County, California
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • CG91
14.1% ABV
  • RP94
  • RP95
  • WS92
  • WE90
  • RP93
  • WE91
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14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Another powerhouse that floods your senses, our Vintner Select cuvee is 100% merlot and 100% delicious. The pervasive nose on this inky black wine is filled with brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and ripe berries. The seamless palate reminds of a blackberry cobbler with flavors of dark berries and vanilla persisting right through the holiday season.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Pride's regular '04 Merlot was very good. This one's better. Intensely rich and concentrated in the way of mountain wines, it shows huge, ripe cherry marmalade, black raspberry pie filling, rum and cola, mocha-choca and Asian spice flavors, enriched by smoky oak. Any really ripe wine can do that, but only one from great coastal vineyards can achieve this balance of acids and tannins. Should develop over the next ten years.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Not shy about showing its oak, with plenty of cedar, vanilla bean and spice, yet underneath is a delicious core of currant, blackberry and graphite. Oak returns on the finish, providing a woody mouthfeel, but there's lots of depth and concentration. Drink now through 2011. 450 cases made.
CG 91
Connoisseurs' Guide
Mountain wines often show a little less fat and a little more structural toughness than their valley-floor counterparts, and this sturdy, very deeply filled Merlot does just that. Its succulent smells of cherries, mint, chocolate and toast lead to like-minded but rather astringent flavors that are presently bound up in youthful tannins, yet its tenacious fruit fights on through at the finish and guarantees that a handsome wine will await all those who exercise five or six years of patience.
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Pride Mountain Vineyards

Pride Mountain Vineyards

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Pride Mountain Vineyards, Sonoma County, 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.

Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

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. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, 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 and Cabernet Franc.

KBRPRIDEM04_2004 Item# 116971