In 1993, Jim Pride sat winemaker, Bob Foley down. Although he had no doubt that Bob gave each and every lot his finest attention, he had to have favorite barrels - didn’t he? Bob had to confess that he did. So, Jim issued the challenge: “There are no rules. Make the best wine you can make. If no one else likes it, well . . . we’ll drink it.” And with that the first Reserve Claret was born. And people did like it. In fact, they liked it a lot. Six vintages later, we are proud to offer you the latest incarnation of winemaking without rules. Deep ruby in color and nearly opaque, the bright aromatics leap from the glass, teasing your senses with cherry, currant, clove and allspice. On the palate, layers of ripe berry flavors and friendly soft tannins evenly coat the palate introducing suggestions of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. While doubtless it will be a struggle to decide when to open one of these precious few bottles, know that while the ’99 Claret has the substance to cellar for at least a decade, opening it sooner will not disappoint.

Appellation: Napa Valley
Vintage: 1999
Harvest: October 1999
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: French Oak
Blend: 60% Merlot
35% Cabernet
5% Petit Verdot
Alcohol: 14.2%
Bottling: December 2001
Production: 200 cases
Release Date: March 2002
Price:
SOLD OUT

Reviews

  • The Wine Advocate: August 31, 2002
    Rating: 96

    The micro-cuvee' (about 200 cs) of 1999 Reserve Claret (two-thirds Merlot and one-third Cabernet Sauvignon) is awesome! A candidate for "wine of the vintage" it spent 24 months in both old and new French oak. It boasts an opaque purple color in addition to a sumptuous, sweet bouquet of espresso, blackberries, cassis, maple syrup, and vanilla. Long, layered. Multidimensional, sweet, and thick on the palate, it possesses an unctuosity and concentration that must be tasted to be believed. Nevertheless, it is well balanced and incredibly pure as well as long. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2020.

  • Wine Spectator: August 31, 2002
    Rating: 93

    Rich, complex and exotic, with tempting spice and dark fruit aromas and layers of currant, black cherry, mocha, sandalwood and cherry flavors that are sharply focused, long and intense on the finish. Relies on Merlot (60 %) for its grace and elegance, with Cabernet (35%) giving it backbone. Drink now through 2009. 200 cases made.

  • Connoisseurs' Guide: September 2000
    Rating: 3 Puffs

    60% Merlot; 35% Cabernet Sauvignon; 5% Cabernet Franc. Built along the big, bold, highly ripened lines that are the Pride Mountain trademark, this absolute show-stopper carries the lushness and slightly rounder feel of Merlot yet finishes with Cabernet structure. It delivers lots of optimally ripened black cherry fruit, generously laid on creamy oak and complexing notes of cocoa and sweet spices, and it demands a half decade or more of patient cellaring before coming into its own. Some wines invite early drinking, even when they can age. This is one that simply needs to be left alone for awhile.