1994-2003 Pride Mountain Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting
This past Saturday eight of us gathered to taste the 1994-2003 vintages of Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. The tasting was held at Bell Wine Shop in DC where we were provided with unlimited glasses and table space. Present were Dave, Deniz, William, Lou, Todd, Marissa, Jenn, and myself.
The 1994-1997 vintages were sourced from JJ Buckley, the 1998-2000 from HDH, and 2001-2003 from Dave’s and William’s stash. All of the wines were double-decanted only to remove sediment. We started off with NV Pol Roger to get us going then after the Pride wines we freshened up with an excellent 1998 Henriot Millesime.
The 1997 was the WOTN followed by 2001 then 1999. In general, all three of these wines were very well received.
1994 Cabernet Sauvignon
This is still very opaque and deep in the glass with slight bricking/garnet on the edge. Blackberries, cherries, and raspberries in the nose along with pencil lead. In the mouth there are light fruit flavors of cherry, cassis with underbrush and some smokey oak coming through. There is still much grip from the ample tannins that seem to be upstaging the fruit. When the last half of the bottle was poured it was obvious that the wine was fading. This was initially the most aromatic of the ten wines. Deniz really enjoyed it.
1995 Cabernet Sauvignon
Again, very opaque and only slightly bricked at the edges. A muted nose as compared to the 1994. Some aromas of cherry and earth but hard to say. There are flavors of cassis, tar, and cigar box that developed a slight medicinal/menthol/iodine component with air. Smoother tannins the the 1994. I found an overall impression of softer, older fruit.
1996 Cabernet Sauvignon
Again, dark and deep with slight bricking in the glass. A markedly different nose of red fruit. I personally found a mustiness to the nose and Jenn smelled nuts. Cherry is the singular flavor that comes through the dominant tannins right from the start. There was a dry finish. Dave felt that wine could last longer but doubted that the fruit would hold up. While others liked this wine I couldn’t get past the nose.
1997 Cabernet Sauvignon
Very opaque and deep red to the edges. A great lifted nose of ripe cherries and violets. In the mouth, this massive wine burst with sweet black fruit and cherries. It is energetic throughout with lively acidity. Tight at first, this smooth, powerful, and confident wine developed a rippling and long-lasting finish. This really good wine is clearly the best of the first four vintages.
1998 Cabernet Sauvignon
1999 Cabernet Sauvignon
Very opaque purple/red to the edges. People found this the msot claret like. A bright nose of cherry, blueberry, and blackcurrant with some cigar-box and smokiness. Ripe but balanced fruit of cassis and dark berries. An interesting coffee/toffee/caramel flavor developed with air. This is a nice bottle of wine that some felt marked the start of more prominent oak.
2000 Cabernet Sauvignon
Very opaque and dark. A very weak nose of tar, caramel popcorn, and oak. The fruit fades fast the wine becomes austere with tannins and light acidity. Somewhat out of balance. Lou found some Band-Aid component.
2001 Cabernet Sauvignon
Very, very dark. There is tremendous color in the wine that just clings to the side of the glass. A very elevated nose of red and blue fruits. This young tasting wine, is huge and intensely extracted with kirsch and cherry flavors. This dense wine has massive fruit, huge noticeable tannins. The high-quality fruit stands up to the tannins. This is a wonderful time to be tasting this wine. Could the 1997 have been liked this a few years ago?
2002 Cabernet Sauvignon
A light nose that is very fruity and flabby. Very fruity in the mouth, jammy, flabby, not enough acidity from the begnning. This wine had the least amount of tannins. This “fruit slut” of a wine got better with air. I found an interesting paraffin aroma developed with air.
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
Again, very opaque. A very light nose of some dark red berries. There is much less fruit in this leaner wine. More prominant, grippy oak that gets in the way of the fruit. This wine is just OK and like the 2000, a step down from the 2001 and 2002.
Lou brought a half bottle of 1978 Quady’s Zinfandel Vintage Port as a treat. He bought a number of half bottles almost 20 years ago. This was a great way to wrap up the tasting. I don’t think anyone would have guessed that this was 100% Zinfandel.
1978 Quadys, Shennandoah School Road, Lot 2, Zinfandel Vintage Port
Lot 2 came from barrels that showed more character than Lot 1. This is a very light amber in the glass. It looks like a 20-30 tawny port. A very delicate, sweet nose of some brown sugar, almond, and some tobacco
In the mouth this nutty wine has a sugary component of apricots. There is some heat but still some acidity to keep this 30 year old 100% zinfandel port going. I would drink this now while it is still holding together.