VERTICAL: Claret 1999-2004 6pk 1.5L
1999 Claret – 93 points, Robert Parker Jr.
There are 400 cases of this blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Pride Mountain Vineyard's winemaker, Robert Foley. Sadly, most of the 1998 (which I reviewed in issue #141) was destroyed in a warehouse fire. The only bottles that survived were those from his personal cellar and a handful of bottles provided as samples to distributors. A seamless classic, the opaque purple-colored 1999 offers a sweet perfume of coffee, mocha, graphite, black cherries, licorice, and cassis. The wine reveals sweet tannin, beautiful purity and a gorgeous layered texture. It should drink well for 15+ years.
2000 Claret – 96 points, Robert Parker Jr.
Potentially the "Cabernet Sauvignon of the vintage" Foley's 2000 Claret (80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot) is an amazing effort for this irregular vintage. It possesses a saturated black/purple color, great elegance and richness as well as amazing precision and extraordinary purity. Aromas of smoke, licorice, incense, black currant liqueur, and spice box are followed by a full-bodied, satiny smooth wine with a 45+ second finish. This incredible 2000 is a tribute to Bob Foley's talents.
2001 Claret – 99 points, Robert Parker Jr.
The virtually perfect 2001 Claret (80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot) has more of everything. A tour de force in winemaking, it possesses extraordinary concentration, intensity, purity, and ripeness, yet retains an elegant style. With a spectacular perfume of blackberry liqueur, cassis, acacia flowers, graphite, espresso roast, and chocolate as well as a 60-second finish, this long, dense 2001 is still primary, but already fun to drink. Anticipated maturity: 2006- 2020.
2002 Claret – 96 points, Robert Parker Jr.
A classic example of a Bordeaux blend, the 2002 Claret possesses an inky/blue/purple color as well as a fabulous perfume of graphite, crème de cassis, smoke, and licorice. It hits the palate with a full-bodied, unctuous texture, tremendous purity, and moderately high tannin in the 40+ second finish. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2018.
2003 Claret – 96 points, Robert Parker Jr.
The top wine here is the classic 2003 Claret, a gorgeously proportioned, opaque purple-colored effert boasting a big, sweet nose of smoky meats, crème de cassis, coffee, and dark plums. Dense and opulent, with superb concentration, full body, high glycerin, decent acidity, and ripe tannin, this a superb mouthful of wine that can be approached now or cellared for 12-15 years.
2004 Claret – 95 points, Robert Parker Jr.
The inky/purple-hued, seamless 2004 Claret boasts gorgeous aromas of crème de cassis, blackberries, smoke, licorice, espresso roast, and spring flowers. With sensational concentration, full body, a voluptuous mouthfeel, decent acidity, and sweet tannin, it can be drunk now and over the next 10-15 years.