The 2004 vintage produced a crop of solid, dense, ripe Cabernets with plenty of power, richness, and longevity. It was an early harvest that was compact and proceeded at a rapid pace, with most growers finished by the end of September.
The season got off to a fast start, with bloom almost a month earlier than the recent average. It stayed early right through veraison, and as harvest approached and sugars raced, there was concern whether there would be enough hang-time for physiological ripeness to develop before the acids fell. The heat moderated just enough for growers to hang on while flavors developed and the resulting wines have depth, power, and richness. Hillside and mountain fruit fared very well.
Overall an excellent vintage that yielded superb, full-bodied, ripe, and powerful wines that are built to last.
Three week heat spell
Heat spikes continue
In 1981, after years of research, lab work and avoiding the border authorities, Jayson Pahlmeyer planted his smuggled Bordeaux clones in Napa Valley. In 1986 he released the first Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red to critical acclaim, and he's been on the way up ever since. Pahlmeyer is an ambitious guy who thrives in the spotlight -- he was once a trial lawyer -- but he also has a phenomenal knack for spotting talent. Over the years he has consistently nabbed up-and-coming winemakers who have made the label what it is today. The list, which includes Randy Dunn, Bob Levy, Helen Turley and Erin Green, now has two new names to round it out: Kale Anderson, director of winemaking for Napa Valley, and Bibiana GonzÕlez Rave, consulting winemaker for the Sonoma Coast holdings. Each winemaker is in charge of one of the estate's two main vineyards. The first, the Waters Ranch Vineyard, located on the ridge of Atlas Peak, high in the eastern hills of Napa, has 72-acres planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Chardonnay. The Wayfarer Farm Vineyard in Fort Ross-Seaview, covers 30-acres planted exclusively to Burgundy varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Fruit from the Waters Ranch Vineyard goes into the noteworthy Proprietary Red, a consistently strong Bordeaux blend, and the flamboyantly ripe and often outsized Merlot.