1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

There are often vintages on Spring Mountain that require hang-time well into the month of November for the late ripening Cabernet grapes to achieve their optimal development. However, in the 1997 season we enjoyed an early bud-break and this brought the ripening season upon us in mid-October. This being a considerably warmer month than November, there wasn’t an unripe Cabernet grape on the entire mountain in ’97. Even the wimpiest lot was a color monster, staining the stainless steel hopper upon contact. This was a fast and furious crush with inspiring wines from the start.

As with the Merlot lots for the Reserve Claret, most of the lots were candidates for the blend. The younger Carolyn’s Vineyard with its 337 clone has become the favorite and contributes greatly. The eastern edge of the Rock Arch Vineyard with its leaner soils breeds intensity of color and depth of body as well. The color is dark as ink and the aromas offer intense black cherry and chocolate character. The richness on the palate is nothing short of viscous, a seriously extracted Cabernet. Flavors will last on the palate longer than the attention span of most of us. Prepare for a thorough staining of the teeth with this Reserve Cab!

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Appellation: Napa Valley
Vintage: 1997
Harvest: October 1997
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: French Oak
Blend: 96% Cabernet Sauvignon
4% Petit Verdot
Alcohol: 14.1%
Bottling: November 1999
Production: 454 cases
Release Date: March 2000
Release Price:


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  • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: May/June 2000 - Rating: 94+

    (includes 4% Petit Verdot): Saturated bright dark ruby. Penetrating aromas of blackberry, cassis, licorice, shoe polish and violet. Extremely concentrated and dense; huge structure matched by uncanny sweetness of fruit. Already offers compelling inner-mouth perfume. This is considerably more tannic than the winery's regular Cabernet, but the tannins spread out to coat the entire palate. Really extraordinary fruit here!!

  • Connoisseurs' Guide: August 2000 - Rating: 2 Puffs

    We have been singing the praises of Pride Mountain for some time now, and this latest release, while not quite the value of its predecessors, reaffirms the winery's place among the foremost producers of extravagant Cabernet. From its intense unrelentingly fruity aromas to its big, bold, deeply filled flavors, the wine displays a wealth of cassis, and rich oak spice with accents of loam and mineral lending interest and range. Very ripe, very full and still somewhat rough and ragged in the mouth, it ends with a long, tannin-filled, but ever-flavorful finish and seems destined to improve for a decade or more.

  • Wine Spectator: September 15, 2000 - Rating: 92

    Dense and chewy. A rich, dark wine, packed with loads of plum, currant and black cherry. Turns spicy and cedary. Best from 2001 through 2008. 454 cases made.

  • The Wine Advocate: December 23, 2003 - Rating: 97+

    The 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon pushes richness to unreal levels. Despite its intense, full- bodied, ultra concentrated style, it possesses a sense of balance and definition. The color is a saturated inky purple. The aromatics consist of lead pencil shavings, minerals, blackberries, cassis, and flowers. Extremely full-bodied, with amazing purity, mouth-coating richness, sweet tannin, and low acidity, it offers profound drinking even though it has not yet begun to develop secondary nuances. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2025.