Tasting vintage wines with properly paired food accentuates the whole tasting experience. Comparing two wines enhances the experience even further where such a comparison illuminates and highlights the subtle nuances of the character and, style of diverse wines. Such was the case when I was invited over to son Ryan's for Friday night grilled steak dinner. I took a '97 vintage Pride Mountain Napa Cabernet to pair and compare with the 2k Cantenac Brown Margaux he pulled from his cellar.
Château Cantenac Brown Margaux Bordeaux 2000
Decanted for an hour before it started to open and reveal floral tones and dark berry fruits. Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, smooth polished and nicely balanced in its moderately subdued black berry fruits accented by floral, earth, tones of creosote, tea, tobacco and hint of smoke on a long soft silky tannin finish.
RM 91 points.
Pride Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
We first tasted and acquired this wine during our visit to the estate vineyards and winery high atop Spring Mountain during our Napa Valley Wine Experience back in 1999. Since that time, after tasting in the early ensuing years, we've held on to those wines waiting for them to age, open and mature to the optimum time to reveal their full potential.
The 1997 Napa Cabernet vintage was much heralded at the time but struggled to live up to the hype in those early years when compared to adjacent vintages, until recently. In following years the much maligned 1998 vintage often outshone the '97 with their early drinkability. With time, now approaching its twentieth year, many of the 97 vintage wines are emerging to reveal their true potential. Such was the case tonight where this '97 Pride Napa Cab really shined.
My tasting notes from back in '04 rated this an 89 relative to the Wine Spectator rating of 94 because it was tight and closed when I wrote, "Dark, firm and full bodied with forward currant, black cherry, and a hint of cedar. Big wine that needs more time to settle."
Tonight, this shown similar characteristics, blackish garnet, full bodied, more open, complex, bright and vibrant than as described in earlier tastings, showing tones of leather, graphite, anise and spice with hints of mocha before turning to a tangy gripping tannin finish.
RM 92 points.