About Pride Mountain Vineyards
Pride Mountain Vineyards
Pride Mountain Vineyards sits on a beautiful 235-acre estate at the very top of Spring Mountain, straddling the Napa-Sonoma county line. Formerly known as the Summit Ranch, the property has a long history: Vines were planted here as early as 1869, and a winery was built in 1890, though it was destroyed in a fire in the 1920s — all that remain today are the original stone walls. Pride was established in the early 1990s, and an on-site winery was completed in 1997. Interestingly, in order to comply with winemaking regulations, the winery had to be split into two separate facilities, one for the Napa side and one for the Sonoma side, with a line painted down the middle of the crush pads to delineate the two. The wines also have to be designated based on which county the grapes are grown in.
The estate vineyards here cover 83 acres at an elevation of 2,000 feet above the valley floor — well above the fog line. Many plantings are south-facing, rare for a Spring Mountain estate.
There is sun from dawn to dusk and the average temperature is several degrees lower than on the valley floor. The diurnal temperature changes are also smaller — mornings are warmer and afternoons are cooler. This unique microclimate helps preserve acidity and freshness in the grapes and prolongs the ripening window, ultimately playing a role in the cool-structured nature of the wines.
Soils are mainly volcanic and uplifted seafloor sediments, with red-tinged loams full of rocky cobbles and gravel that offer excellent drainage. The vines span six different soil formations, though Goulding Cobbly Loam Association is the dominant type. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot are planted in the higher parcels containing spare and well-drained soils. Merlot is planted in the lower portions, where the soils are a bit deeper and rich with more clay. Syrah is also planted further down, in a parcel high in quartz. In total, there are 40 vineyard blocks, each planted, managed, and harvested according to its specific character.
The top wines are the Bordeaux blends and Cabernet Sauvignons, which display their unique Spring Mountain character in their lovely structure and style.
Medium to full-bodied wines with flavors of black cherry, plum, and tobacco
Roasts, hamburgers, other grilled meats
Merlot enjoyed a surge in popularity in the 1990s as consumers suddenly discovered that they could enjoy aromas and flavors similar to those of Cabernet in a fleshier, softer wine with smoother tannins. A wave of Merlot plantings followed, frequently in soils and microclimates completely inappropriate for this variety, and the market was soon flooded with dilute bottles from young vines and high crop levels, and weedy, herbaceous examples from underripe fruit. Many of these undernourished wines were overoaked in attempts to mask their deficiencies. Over the same period, a number of Cabernet producers began picking riper fruit and doing a better job managing their tannings during the making and aging of their wines. The result was an upswing of powerful, satisfying Cabernets that were far less austere in their youth -- and a sharp decline in interest in Merlot.
Still, California's best Merlots, some of which predated the vogue for this variety in the 1990s, continue to be some of the finest examples of this variety outside Bordeaux -- in the same quality league with wines from Washington State and Italy's Tuscan coast region. Expect to find broad, supple wines with medium to full body, typically with aromas and flavors of black cherry, plum, dark berries, dark chocolate, tobacco, and earth, and suave, fine-grained tannins. Merlot also rules in Pomerol, and nowhere in the world does this variety make more complete wines than on the flat, clay-rich plateau that lies at the heart of this appellation.