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Proprietary Red – Pahlmeyer / "Our mission is to produce wines with power and personality. Our strict viticultural regime combined with a risky but rewarding approach to winemaking creates wines having extravagant, concentrated fruit, polish and pizzazz. The dedication of Jayson Pahlmeyer, the commitment of our grape growers, and the talent of our winemaker Erin Green have converged to produce among the finest Bordeaux-style red wine, Merlot and Chardonnay anywhere. Pahlmeyer thus proudly contributes to the continual advancement of winemaking and viticulture in Napa Valley."
Jayson Pahlmeyer stepped into the world of wine while in law school when he founded a wine tasting group which included professors as well as fellow students. Finding himself reading more wine journals than law journals, trial attorney Jayson Pahlmeyer decided to pursue his dream of producing a California "Bordeaux blend." After several trips to France, Jayson, with the aid of professors of viticulture and oenology at the University of Bordeaux, isolated the best clones of each of the "classic" Bordeaux and red varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Jayson, in turn, had the clones imported into California and used them to plant a Napa Valley vineyard in 1980. As he transitioned from lawyer to vintner, he developed vineyards in the Coombsville and Atlas Peak areas of Napa and on Sonoma's Lost Coast.
Under the winemaking direction of Randy Dunn, Jayson released his first vintage - the 1986 Pahlmeyer Red Table Wine. Dunn, who presided over winemaking until 1992, emphasized high extraction of fruit and flavor with no fining or filtering. Using the clonal varieties from France, Dunn created legendary Californian Bordeaux blends for Jayson and placed Pahlmeyer among the serious Cabernet producers.
In 1998 Jayson discovered a magical spot on the Sonoma Coast, two ridges in from the Pacific, where fog and sun chase each other through the seasons. They studied it; they planted it; they watched the cooling influence which is the rationale of great Pinot Noirs from around the world. This is their Wayfarer Vineyard. They began planting the vineyard in 2000 and continue to learn and adjust the practices to coax the most concentrated and elegant grapes that they can from this magical place.
In January of 2000 Erin Green became the Director of Winemaking for Pahlmeyer. Erin approaches winemaking in a way that is both traditional and cutting edge. She focuses on developing flavor from the planting of the vine through the bottling of the wine.
In 2003, Michel Rolland joined the team as an advisor. Rolland is considered by many to be one of the worlds most respected blending experts. He visits Pahlmeyer three times a year and works with Erin on both vineyard nuances and, by tasting hundreds of lot samples, refining the final blends before bottling.
Synonymous with Pahlmeyer, Proprietary Red is the winery’s raison d’etre.
“All I wanted to do was to create my own ‘California Mouton’ – a rich, powerful Napa Valley Bordeaux blend, a wine that would drop wine lovers to their knees,” says Jayson Pahlmeyer.
1986 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red was the realization of Jayson’s dream. Anointed 94 points by Robert Parker, it was the first of an extraordinary legacy of critically acclaimed wines.
What is Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red? It is a classic Napa Valley Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Each variety is harvested and held separately throughout fermentation and barrel aging. The lots are aged an average of 18 months in French oak Bordeaux barrels, blended through a meticulous, time-honored artisanal process, and bottled without filtering or fining.
Produced in limited quantities, the Proprietary Red is a wine of superb power and density with commanding tannins and rich, dark flavors that become increasingly lush and seductive with age. Properly cellared, Proprietary Red will evolve magnificently for at least 25 years.
Blend: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot
Winemaking: Proprietary Red is a masterful blend of five Bordeaux varietals, each harvested and vinified separately in more then 50 individual lots. Grape clusters were gravity-fed onto a vibrating table where two screens sifted out materials other than grapes, and we removed by hand any fruit that did not pass visual inspection. After gentle destemming, individual berries were hand-sorted again to ensure that only the best grapes were delivered to the fermenters. The fruit underwent five days of cold maceration and two to six weeks of primary fermentation before gentle basket press. We aged the wine in 85% new Seguin Moreau Icone and Taransaud French Oak barrels for 20 months.
Tasting note: This wine has a deep garnet rim with a dark burgundy-hued core. A nose of sweet vanilla, cigar and blackberry carries over onto the soft, voluptuous palate. Ripe fruit flavors are accented with notes of licorice, graphic slate and unsweetened chocolate powder, while hints of dark roasted coffee show up on the very edges of the tongue.
Fantastic aromatics with blackberries, blackcurrants and iodine. Licorice, too. Medium to fulll body, fine and velvety tannins and a very polished and gorgeous finish. Caressing and dialed in. Why wait? An intellectual wine here. Lovely now. – James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2017 – 97p
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. – James Laube, Wine Spectator, June 15, 2017 – 95p
The 2014 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec, again, showing slightly less depth than its two surrounding siblings, but beautiful pure fruit, silky, velvety tannins, a layered mouthfeel and deep blackcurrant and black cherry fruit intermixed with cedar wood, fruitcake and smoky oak. This is a terrific wine as well and it will be the fastest out of the gate in terms of evolution – drinking beautifully for the next 15+ years. – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, December 2016 – 94p