So there I was on a Friday night, with what I hoped would be a first attempt at oven baked brisket, patted down in spices and cooked for six hours in foil wrapped nirvana, wondering what would be nice to open. While a Zinfandel would come readily to mind for something I would normally pair with anything in barbecue sauce, I decided to go in a different direction. Cabernet sauvignon. Ahhh the
grape of The Valley. Or in the case of Pride Mountain Vineyards... The grape of the mountain. (Kinda' follows, doesn't it?)
For a about sixteen years now, the Pride family has been making Cabernet from their vineyard's fruit under the direction of winemaker Bob Foley. According to the Pride website, Mr. Foley
joined in 1992. The estate is a beautiful place, far off the beaten path on the top of mountains overlooking the Napa valley and straddling both Sonoma and Napa counties.
The wines are known (only too well) for being dark brooding liquid, with intense flavor and, as in the case of many mountain wine, tart tannins waiting to drop to the bottom of the bottle, leaving what one hopes will be a wonderful taste sensation in a number of years.
To quote the Pride site, which quotes the Wine Spectator
from November 15, 2003, (hope I don't violate too many copyright laws here): "Dark, rich and plush, with an unusual display of fruit opulence; polished blackberry, huckleberry and raspberry fruit is lush, deeply concentrated and long on the finish. Toasty oak adds a fascinating dimension." They gave it a 95-100 point score since the review was from barrel samples prior to bottling.
However I think Stephen Tanzer
's International Wine Cellar May/June 2004 issue put it in a better frame since they tasted the finished product: "...A powerfully tannic wine that finishes with terrific thrust. Compared to some of the other Pride 2001's this really demands a few years of cellaring, and may ultimately merit an even higher score." A 92 score from Stephen. For me, I think Tanzer was right on.
In the last decade we can classify each year of Cabernet wine from the region. Most notable would be 1997, which had a preponderance of lush, fruity flavors, dark concentration of color, and wonderful finish on the tongue. Then 1998, which many try to forget, and some wineries failed to produce, but in a few cases gems were made. Many wines were simply discarded, or I suspect given to that "Chuck" guy for a buck a gallon. For the most part weak insipid things not fit for bottling nor canning.
The next year, 1999 produced what most had hoped would be another banner year for Napa Cabernet. While the juice was there, and it was highly touted, we may wait a while longer for finding a pleasurable wine in '99. They are for the most part so tannic that some may take a minimum of 10 years to smooth out those tannins for consumption. I know one wine that I had open for three days before it developed flavors that could even be tasted. And it was great after three days. Before that, all you could do was pucker.
The year 2000, along with so much worry about computer problems and other new age gossip, came a Cabernet that many thought would be as underdeveloped as 1998. But many of these have turned from frogs into princesses. (Ok. So the metaphor is not quite right, but while a good wine is many things, it is more a princess than a prince..) I have had several memorable gems from this year, that while enjoying them, I could only smile in reflection of what the naysayers had to say. The Pride 2000 Reserve Cabernet was a gem!
And then we come (finally!) to 2001. Let me state up front that the wines I am referring to in this post, are not your everyday wines from the grocer, (well, not mine) but these are wines that in many cases are only obtainable from the winery direct, and are either made in such limited production, or have such a high demand, that they can be challenging to come by. Pride would only sell me 2 bottles of their most recent vintage. In the past as much as a case has been offered. And these wines are by no means cheap. Sixty dollars at last check for the regular Cab and well over $100 for the Reserve, which most mortals will never be offered, much less see or taste.
So there I am, Glass ready, bottle open, pour a bit into the glass, swirl, sniff, swirl, swirl, swirl, taste..... Nada. Crikey! I have more flavor from much less expensive wine. And tannic. You betcha!. Now it did develop over the course of the night. None went to waste. But if you have any of this or other high end Cabernet in your cellar. Leave it there. If and when the fruit can come out to play, may be some time in the future. A long time. Rumplestiltskin
time maybe. I should have known, I suppose in retrospect. But I had not opened a Pride Cab in oh so long. And that 2000 Pride reserve, of which I have one left was oh so delicious. But to night it was not to be. Which I guess was indicative of the evening as a whole. Since that brisket
... turned out to be a corned beef
I had bought at the local megamart on sale for St. Patties Day
. But the spices were in a separate packet, so I figured that it had not yet been corned since it still needed cooking. Wrong.
It did make a great corned beef sandwich once I picked up a loaf of rye bread. And I am sure that the hash I'll be making sometime soon since I picked up the potatoes for it yesterday will get made at any moment. But if you ever have the occasion to ask yourself, "What wine should I pair with corned beef?" Take my word for it. It is not
Cabernet. I'm thinking Guinness
(Sincere apologies to Pride for using the picture. I really do love your wine!)