Jayson Pahlmeyer was determined to bring a Mouton Rothschild experience to California. Armed with a financial backing that would make most winery’s blush, he started by buying a super expensive piece of land atop Atlas Peak, smuggled in Bordeaux clippings from some of their most prized estates, hired a superstar winemaker who worked at both Chateau Haut Brion and Au Bon Climat, and went to work. He achieved his goal… and then some.
In the 35 years since Pahlmeyer’s founding, it has skyrocketed into becoming Napa Valley royalty and then may have even set a new bar. Multiple 100-point wines, yearly inclusion in the “best wineries of the world” lists and a 40-under-40 tastemaker recognition for their winemaker and you can say that they’re in rarefied air.
Then you mix in the fact that the four sources for the winery’s fruit are their own gorgeous estate vineyard on Atlas Peak, Stagecoach vineyard atop Pritchard Hill, Antinori Family’s Antica and Rancho Chimiles, and you realize that these guys are playing with a stacked deck. Not surprisingly, they boast a multi-year wait just to join the waitlist and then charge an arm and a leg for bottles, because their wine is that good (and they’ve got a lot of superstars on the payroll).
Their 30th Anniversary Prop Red Bottling is completely flawless. I’m sure at the time all these reviewers tried the wine a few years ago it was great but not perfect but now I think you’d have a hard time convincing me this thing would get anything less than a 98 or 99. It’s so smooth and memorable– a real treat from a Napa icon.
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97 Points, Vinous
The 2016 Proprietary Red is another superb wine from Pahlmeyer. Bright floral notes and hillside tannins confer energy and tension to play off the intense red fruit. Powerful and voluptuous in the glass, the 2016 is shaping up to be a beauty.
96+ Points, Parker’s Wine Advocate
Composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Proprietary Red Wine gives up bold notes of fresh blackcurrants, black cherries and wild blueberries with hints of cigar box, tilled soil, dried bay leaves and smoked meats plus a hint of lavender. Medium-bodied and fantastically intense in the mouth, it has a wonderful core of muscular fruit and a firm, ripe, fine-grained frame to match, finishing very long.
96 Points, James Suckling
A concentrated and essence-like nose of elderberries, blackcurrant compote, peppermint and forest floor, but also hot stones, pressed violets and fresh eucalyptus. So complete and complex on the palate, which is full-bodied and layered with super velvety tannins, wrapping the seamless fruit together. A mouthful of pure silk.
96 Points, Jeb Dunnuck
A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Proprietary Red is a modern-day classic that has tons of crème de cassis, graphite, tobacco, and earth-driven aromas and flavors. It’s deep, pure, layered, and elegant on the palate, with a great finish. Feel free to drink this beauty any time over the coming 20-25 years.