Positioned in the heart of Napa Valley, the Rutherford appellation enjoys sun exposure, climate and soils well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon. The significant percentage of new barrels wove oak complexity through the dark-fruit flavors. While this wine’s dynamic tannin structure promises excellent aging potential, it is approachable and food friendly in its youth. Splashes of Malbec and Petit Verdot deepened the color and added violet and plum notes.
Barrel Aging: 20 Months, 100% Barrel Aged (43% New Oak, predominantly French)
Varietal Composition: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot
Elegantly capturing the character of both the cool vintage and this world-renowned appellation, our 2009 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon opens with generous black currant, olallieberry and dark-plum aromas. Subtle hints of olive, cola, violet, leather, paprika, mocha and cedar are slowly revealed with each swirl and sip. Cocoa powder tannins, a signature of Rutherford Dust, contribute rich texture and grip to the expansive, dark-fruit flavors and long, persistent finish. These muscular tannins give the wine vibrancy while promising great aging potential.
To achieve the Rutherford Dust signature in this Cabernet Sauvignon, we selected the vast majority of the grapes from two outstanding vineyards in the Rutherford American Viticultural Area (AVA): Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III and Hewitt Vineyard. Both are rooted in well-draining benchland sites: Georges III is located on the eastern side of the appellation, while the Hewitt estate vineyard is on the west, as is our Provenance estate vineyard. Positioned in the heart of Napa Valley, the Rutherford appellation’s sun exposure, climate and soils are particularly well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon.
Although winter and spring rainfall during the 2009 growing season was only about two-thirds of normal, the timing of the rains was excellent for the vines. Our Cabernet Sauvignon vines completed budbreak in early April and developed through a frost-free spring. Ideal conditions prevailed during bloom and berry set in May. Moderate temperatures during summer and early fall produced excellent fruit quality by allowing the grapes to ripen slowly while maintaining acidity.
After hand harvesting the fruit, we first hand sorted the clusters and then, after destemming, hand sorted the individual grapes to assure highest quality. To gently extract opulent color and flavors from the skins, we cold soaked the partially crushed grapes for three days. Two to three weeks of post-fermentation skin contact—length dependent on variety and vineyard personality—developed varietal expression. In-barrel malolactic fermentation rounded the acidity, while 20 months of barrel aging added vanilla and mocha notes. We clarified the wine with three rackings during aging.