2001 Pride Mountain "Vintner's Select Cuvée - Mountain Top Vineyard" Sonoma County Merlot

SKU #1077644 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2001 Merlot Mountaintop Vineyard exhibits an even more saturated ruby/purple color as well as tighter, more restrained aromatics (dusty, earthy, spice box, black cherry and black currant fruit). Rich, full-bodied and extraordinarily young for a Merlot, this big wine comes from Pride’s high elevation (2,000 plus feet) vineyard. Great acidity and plenty of sweet tannin provide structure as well as delineation. While approachable, it will benefit from another 3-4 years of cellaring and should easily last 20-25 years. This is a provocative, high intensity, singular Merlot that will make believers out of this varietal’s critics. (RP) 94+  (6/2011)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright, saturated ruby-red. Sappy, superripe but more brooding aromas of black cherry liqueur, black raspberry and dark chocolate. Denser and more minerally than the regular Merlot, with a very different, finer-grained texture rare for North Coast Merlot. Very young but already pliant. Finishes with superb brooding dark fruit flavors that really stain the palate. This is from stony, clay-rich soil that produces fruit with more extract and acidity and a deeper color, notes Foley, who adds that some of this fruit goes into Pride's reserve claret. A superb California Merlot. (ST)  (6/2004)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Dark, rich and creamy, with excellent structure and tiers of currant, blackberry, coffee, mocha and black cherry flavors that are woven together in a seamless package, with a strong burst of fruit complexity on the long, intricate finish. (JL)  (10/2004)

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Price: $99.99
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- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).