"Exuberant" is the word that springs to mind when the cork on this wine is pulled. Swirling aromas of plum, raspberry, strawberry, sandalwood and cocoa powder immediately make their mark, followed by a palate bursting with fruit, and a full, round texture that balances density against liveliness through just the right amount of acidity.  The finish is ripe and rich, with a lingering sensation of pleasing silky tannins.  After a few cooler vintages that made delicious but more subdued Merlots, the 2012 is a return to a more expansive mouth-filling style that typifies warm, even growing seasons on our mountaintop.


Appellation: Napa
Vintage: 2012
Harvest: October 2012
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: French Oak
Blend: 92% Merlot
8% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 14.4%
Bottling: April 2014
Production: 5350 cases
Release Date: August 2014
Price: $60.00


  • The Wine Advocate: October 2014
    Rating: 90

    The outstanding 2012 Merlot is composed of 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 18 months in 40% new French oak. There are 5,350 cases. It exhibits a classic Merlot bouquet of coffee beans, white chocolate, mocha, black cherries and plums. This lush, heady, sexy, medium to full-bodied Merlot can be consumed over the next 7-8 years.

  • California Grapevine: May 2015, Volume 41
    Rating: 91

    2012 Pride Mountain Vineyards, 51% Napa County and 49% Sonoma County ($60) – Medium to medium-dark ruby; fragrant, spicy, herbal, plummy, red and black fruit aroma with a hint of cocoa and overtones of new oak; full body; forward rich, textured, cedary, cherry and dark berry fruit flavors with good depth and acid balance; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended. 14.4% alcohol; 5,350 cases; blended with 8% CS; released August 2014. (Group Score: 16.3, 2/2/0; My Score: 17 [91/100], second place)

  • Wine Spectator: October 31, 2015
    Rating: 92

    Features power and finesse, with aromas of fresh red currant and dusty mocha leading to flavors that are dense midpalate yet wrapped in supple notes of cherry, bay leaf and spicy loam. Drink now through 2023. 559 cases made. -T.F.