Wine Advocate Issue 228
Our first perfect score from Robert Parker
A remarkable effort, engagingly rich and concentrated, with a deep, firm mix of licorice-shaded blackberry, currant, graphite, dried herb and cedary oak notes. The flavors hold and gain, leading to a persistent finish that keeps echoing the core elements. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2030. 5,000 cases made.
An absolute stunner is the 2013 Proprietary Red Wine. This is all mountain fruit. Beautiful floral, smoky, blackcurrant notes mixed with acacia flowers and forest floor jump from the glass of this dense, full-bodied, concentrated and age-worthy wine. Like most 2013s, this is a 30-year wine with remarkable concentration, color and fruit extract. Forget it for another 3-4 years, and drink it over the following 30+ years.
Another rich, explosive wine, the 2012 Proprietary Red is racy and expressive to the core. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. The 2012 is naturally very, very young, but it boasts tremendous richness, volume and pure texture. This is a terrific example of the year. If past vintages are an indication, it should also age impeccably.
A beguiling, layered wine, the 2011 Proprietary Red impresses for its nuance, vibrancy and delineation. Grilled herbs, graph- ite, smoke, new leather and incense meld together in a vibrant wine endowed with gorgeous depth and intensity. The tannins are just a bit firm, hardly a surprise for a wine made from mountain fruit and the year, but the 2011 stands out for its impeccable balance and pure class.
Mocha, espresso, cloves and blackberry jam are some of many nuances that emerge from the 2010 Red Blend. A deep, rich wine, the 2010 boasts stunning aromatics, beautifully chiseled fruit and fabulous overall balance. I sense a slightly less sweet, overt style than in previous years, yet at the same time, there is plenty of richness in the glass. I suspect the 2010 will still be going strong at age 20. Today, it is flat-out gorgeous.
This Bordeaux-like expression offers a mix of cedar-laced tobacco, dried berry, loamy earth and herbal notes. Young and tightly wound, this unfolds slowly and gracefully, and looks like an ideal choice to lay down.
The 2008 Proprietary Red Wine blend...has a more opaque/purple color. With more graphite, blueberry and lilac notes, sweet tannin, medium to full body, and an elegant, gracious feel, it is more restrained than previous examples but has no shortage of richness and concentration. It looks to be a beauty in a Bordeaux style, with sweet tannins but loads of fruit – unmistakably California but French in structure.
Sensational... There is no doubting its extraordinary bouquet of subtle smoked meats, oak, mountain wild flowers, blueberries, blackberries, coffee, and cassis. Super-rich and full-bodied with noticeable, but stunningly sweet tannins, it possesses a rare minerality and definition, characteristics that seem to be found across the board in Napa’s 2007s. This dense, powerful red needs 3-5 years of cellaring, and should have 25 years of life ahead of it.
Sweet, smoky, meaty aromas interwoven with melted asphalt, camphor, blackberry, cassis, and charcoal scents emerge from the complex aromatics. In the mouth, the wine is full-bodied, displaying sweet tannin, a concentrated mouthfeel, and a long, heady finish with substantial fruit, glycerin, and extract. It should drink beautifully for 20+ years.
This wine has fleshed out beautifully. The final blend has a deep purple color, a beautifully sweet nose of blackberries and cassis intermixed with some meatiness, smoke, and a touch of pain grille as well as notes of espresso and licorice. Full-bodied, rich, with decent acidity, excellent delineation, and moderately high tannin, this is a beauty that should evolve for 25-30+ years. It is no wimpish wine at 15.2% natural alcohol, but that is buried beneath a cascade of gorgeous fruit and glycerin. This wine should be cruising along brilliantly in 2030+.
… a wonderful monster in the making. It boasts a dense purple color as well as notes of beef blood, creme de cassis, licorice, incense and spring flowers. It looks more like a 2-year-old wine than one that has seen its tenth birthday...a spectacular Proprietary Red that is even greater than I remember it in its youth.
The 2003 Proprietary Red is a killer. Deep ruby/purple-colored, with a big, smoky, fragrant nose of creme de cassis, smoked meats, plum, and licorice, it boasts great intensity, rich, full-bodied, powerful flavors, decent acidity, moderate tannin, and tremendous persistence. It has put on weight since I tasted it last year out of barrel, and should drink well for 15 or more years.
The nearly perfect 2002 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest dollops of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This exotic, full-throttle, nearly over-the-top red wine’s intensity, richness and smoky coffee notes intermixed with notions of chocolate, graphite, and jammy blackberry and black currant fruit ooze from the glass. This rich, concentrated beauty tastes more like a top-notch, young Right Bank Bordeaux from a vintage such as 2009 than a wine dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. With stunning purity and awesome potential, it can be drunk now or cellared for another two decades.
Pahlmeyer has long been one of my favorite wineries for both their red wines and Chardonnays. Both the 2002 red cuvees, made by Erin Green for proprietor Jayson Pahlmeyer, are performing fabulously. These wines typically have tremendously long lives, as evidenced by some older vintages in my cellar that are continuing to age beautifully.
It exhibits a dense, thick, black/purple color as well as emerging aromas of cedar, black currants, ink, graphite, charcoal and forest floor. This full-bodied, packed and stacked Cabernet offers a sexy, open-knit opulence on the attack followed by noticeable tannins. However, the latter component is clearly balanced by the wine’s stunning concentration, texture and overall depth. Drink it over the following 25-30+ years.
Wonderful richness, complexity and concentration, with layers of mouth-coating dark fruits centered around currant, plum, blackberry and even a trace of prune. Finishes with a long gush of ripe fruit and ripe tannins that ease into the elegant aftertaste.
Ultra-ripe, pushing it to the max. Rich mocha-laced black cherry and blackberry fruit. Hints of milk chocolate, herb and currant. Finishes with smooth, plush tannins and excellent length and complexity.
"The finest Proprietary Red produced by Pahlmeyer to date is their 1997... A super-rich, blockbuster effort, it exhibits an opaque purple color in addition to a fabulous bouquet of black fruits, espresso, cocoa, mocha, and flowers. A prodigious red, with low acidity, spectacular concentration, and fabulous purity as well as overall symmetry, it can be drunk now, but promises to last for 20-25 years."
The 1996 Proprietary Red is not a very weighty (14.3% alcohol) offering. It has become more delineated with a year of bottle age, offering up classic creme de cassis, smoked meat, coffee, prune, and toasty new oak scents. Concentrated, with fabulously high extract, sweet tannin, and full body, this wine has an elegant feel on the palate, but is still a blockbuster. Anticipated maturity now-2025.
The 1995 Proprietary Red Wine may be even better than the 96 point score I bestowed it. It is unquestionably among the top dozen 1995s. The wine boasts an explosive blackberry/blueberry/cassis-scented nose that has completely soaked up all the new oak in which it has been aged for the last 22 months. Purple/black in color, it exhibits fabulously extracted, layered black fruit flavors that coat the palate, offering a seamless texture and voluptuous impression.
The 1994 Proprietary Red Wine exhibits a purple/black color, as well as sweet, integrated tannin, a gorgeous blackcurrant, toast, tar, and licorice-scented nose, fabulous texture, and a 35-45 second finish. The 1994 may be slightly sweeter in the mid-palate than the 1995, but the differences are negligible. The abundant tannin is mostly concealed by the wine's wealth of fruit, glycerin, and alcohol. This wine should drink well from the late nineties through the first two decades of the next century. Very impressive!
A ripe, rich, full-bodied Bordeaux-style red that shows its plush and complex side already, though still young. The tiers of cherry, currant, anise and spice finish with thick but polished tannins and a rich aftertaste. Impressive for its depth and concentration.
The 1992 Proprietary Red Wine, is a wine made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon, with the usual suspects as component parts... It possesses an opaque purple color, a superb, sweet, expansive nose of mint, cassis, and toast, a full-bodied, rich, creamy, lavishly intense palate with great purity, gobs of cassis fruit, nicely integrated oak and tannin, and enough acidity to provide uplift.... Bravo to Jayson Pahlmeyer for once again turning out distinctive, complex wines of thrilling quality.
Ripe and intense with a pretty array of flavors ranging from herb, mint, spice and currant. The texture is rich and smooth and the flavors keep repeating themselves on a long, full finish, where you pick up tobacco and cherry notes.
Big, youthful and consequently awkward, but with a beam of tart currant and plum flavors blazing through the tough tannins and hard-edged oak character. Desperately needs cellaring until at least 1998.
This proprietary wine, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot was made by Randy Dunn, and clearly shows off his exceptional talents by virtue of its huge fruit, formidable structure, mouthcoating richness, and hefty tannins. This immensely impressive wine has outstanding depth and length, and looks like a candidate for 5-15 years of cellaring. Quite impressive.