Rutherford Wine

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Just to the south of St. Helena lies Rutherford, the historic home to the old Inglenook estate and Beaulieu Vineyards and arguably the greatest spot in the country to grow Cabernet Sauvignon, though I will argue with this proposition in just a minute. Rutherford has even spawned perhaps America’s only contribution to the lexicon of wine tasting, the mysterious “Rutherford dust”, that dusty, dusky note that can merge in old California Cabernet. Rutherford occupies the heart of the Napa Valley floor. Roughly square shaped the area is at the crossroads of the valley, benefitting from some maritime influence and fog yet enjoying moderately warm average daily temperatures. There are distinct differences however between the Eastern and Western halves of the AVA. In the west the valley floor is shaded by the Mayacamas range, resulting in cooler afternoon temperatures as well as less fog in the morning. The soil here is predominantly volcanic runoff from the mountains. In contrast the Eastern side of the Read more »

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Popular wines made in Rutherford under $20

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Varietals Produced in Rutherford View all

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

Popular Wineries in Rutherford View all

  • Quintessa Winery

    THE ESTATE "In 1989, Valeria and I found the property that would become Quintessa, a remarkabl...

  • Sawyer Cellars

    In the heart of Napa Valley exists a charming, family-owned winery and estate dating back to the ...

  • Rubicon Estate

    Situated in Rutherford, one of the premier Cabernet Sauvignon growing regions in California, the ...

  • Hewitt Vineyard

    The site that is now Hewitt Vineyard was first planted to vines in 1880, when Dennis Hanrahan bou...

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Rutherford on Snooth

  • Piña Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Firehouse Vineyard 2011


    Dark ruby and concentrated with an aromatic core of black cherry and prune ... ... Like many 2011 Cabs from the Rutherford AVA, its packed with savory complexity that will get even better with age. 89p Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Winston Hill 2011


    This wine, decadent and unctuous, may show less vintage influence than any other Rutherford 2011 Ive tasted. Aromas include milk chocolate, coconut, ripe black currants, brown spice and oak. Its full-bodied in the mouth yet balanced by acidity and fine-grained, grippy tannins. Flavors include mint, tart black currant, spice, oak and coconut. 92pts Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon Dollarhide Elevation 2010


    This sensuous wine pulls you in with its aromas of black currant, black cherry, dark spice, tobacco, oak and vanilla. The full-bodied palate, surprisingly lush for 2011 but plenty juicy, is brimming with mocha, tangy black currant and spice. Fine-grained, chalky tannins are well-balanced by fresh fruit. Only 340 cases made. 92pts Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Staglin Cabernet Salus 2011


    From its dark ruby color to the aromas of earthy black currant, tobacco, caramel and spice this wine exudes lithe masculinity. Medium-to-medium-plus body. Ripe but energetic black fruit and savory spice glide on a stage of very fine-grained and chalky tannins. Juicy throughout the lengthy finish. 92pts Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford 2011


    Just 169 cases were made and its sold out at the winery. There should still be some at restaurants. Another unusually ripe wine for the vintage with dark ruby color and aromas of black cherry jam, both sweet and sour red cherries, dark spice, dry herb, potting soil and oak. The palate is virtually full-bodied and very fresh with moderate tannin... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Peju Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley 2011


    This is an intriguing wine interwoven with contrasting flavors working magic together. There are baked red cherries, fresh red currant, cinnamon candy, smoke, dried meat, savory spice and dark, dried flowers on the nose. The fresh palate has medium-plus body and slightly grippy tannins of fine powder. Slightly sweet, chewy red cherries are surro... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley 2011


    Complex and engagingly Old World, scents of black currant, black cherry, trail dust, mushroom, drying herbs, earth, vanilla and spice waft generously from the glass. The wine is surprisingly full-bodied given the savory nose but acidity and tannins of fine powder and chalk keep things well in balance. The flavors are rich and more typical of the... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Wm. Harrison Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley 2011


    Fruit-forward and delectable, the nose proffers chocolate mint, huckleberry, black cherry, brown spice and mocha. The palate is full-bodied and replete with fine, powdery and chalky tannins that frame very long flavors of oak, chocolate mint, dry herb, tart blackberry, spice and mocha. Youll have to wait to receive this wine, scheduled for a May... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Inglenook Rubicon Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley 2011


    Opaque ruby-black coloring signals the power of this surprising 2011. The nose is dense with dusty black currant and mocha. Medium-plus body and generous acidity that harmonizes with the intense, long-lasting flavors and framing tannins (dry, slippery graphite powder and grippy light grains). The dusty black currant and mocha are joined in the m... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour 2011


    Upon first opening, ripe blackberry, spice, toasted cedar and vanilla rise from the glass. With extended air, aromas of forest spice and game meat emerge and gain prominence. The body is medium-plus with light-grained and chalky tannins nearly balanced by acidity. The blackberry tastes more piquant than it smelled and dark chocolate adds a count... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

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