Rich and beautifully structured, with vivid aromas of red currant, fresh earth and toasty oak and intense yet still supple flavors of cherry and cedar. Tannins are dense but ripe. (TF)
The 2008 Reserve Claret emerges from the glass with expressive dark red fruit, licorice, leather and spices, revealing gorgeous length and persistence. Firm yet well-integrated tannins frame the fruit beautifully from start to finish. Hints of mocha and sweet spices linger on the close. There is an attractive fleshiness to the Claret that makes the wine approachable and enjoyable even today. (AG)
Few Bordeaux-style wines in California are as ripe and bold as this, but that’s the Pride style. The wine explodes in spicy blackberry, currant and cherry fruit, almost like punch, while oak adds toasty notes. A heady wine, it’s also brutally firm in tannins. It’s a little warm in alcohol, but that shouldn’t keep it from aging for at least eight years—and maybe longer. *Cellar Selection*
Full medium ruby. Ripe brambly blackberry, raspberry, smoked meat and nutty oak aromas complicated by salty and floral nuances. Very concentrated and sweet, with a hint of medicinal reserve and very good framing acidity to the flavors of black cherry, licorice and spices. The compellingly ripe character carries through on the long finish, which features surprisingly sweet, harmonious tannins. Production was tiny in 2008 owing to spring frost. But it was very hot late (Steve Pride views 2008 as a hot vintage on the top of Spring Mountain, along with 2004, 2001 and 1997) and the fruit was picked in waves as the clusters shriveled. The estate began using a gentler destemmer in 2008 that has made it possible to vinify without jacks (i.e., pieces of stem). Doesn't have quite the complexity of the best years here, but this is a strong performance given the weather conditions. (ST)
Merlot may take the lead as far as this wine's cepage goes, but ripeness tends to trump specific fruit and sweet oak comes to play in a very big way. The result is a rich and close-to-opulent wine as the offerings from Pride tend to be, and, while arguably still a bit bound up in acid, gritty tannins and evident heat, this is clearly a wine with a future and deserves a half-dozen or so years of further patience.
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