The Notably cool 2011 vintage fostered a classically Bordeaux-style wine with elegant red-fruit flavors. 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.
Barrel Aging: 19 Months, French Oak, American Oak and Hungarian Oak (30% New Oak, predominantly French)
Varietal Composition: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot
“The steadily cool 2011 growing season resulted in long hangtime for the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes as they lingered on the vines into late October and early November before reaching maturity,” says Winemaker Chris Cooney. “The slow ripening preserved complexity, while the cumulative sun exposure developed rich, ripe flavors in the small crop. I call our 2011 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon classically Bordeaux-style in character, with elegant boysenberry, cassis and plum expression layered with hints of sage, minerals and black olive.” Texturally opulent Rutherford Dust tannins and vibrant acidity structure the red-fruit flavors, while new French oak barrels add integrated toffee, espresso and clove nuances.
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: 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.
The persistently cool 2011 vintage decreased yields in Napa Valley, but the remaining grapes ripened slowly, achieving delicious flavors. For the second consecutive year, Napa Valley’s harvest was one of the latest on record. A wet winter and spring continued into mid-June, causing shatter during bloom and reducing the crop. This Cabernet Sauvignon’s complex flavors and exquisite balance prove that this temperate vintage produced many exceptional wines.
After hand harvesting the fruit, we hand sorted the clusters and then, following destemming, hand sorted the individual grapes to assure the 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—the length depending on varietal and vineyard personality—developed varietal expression. In-barrel malolactic fermentation rounded the mouthfeel, three rackings gently clarified the wine, and small amounts of five other varietals broadened the spectrum of aromas and flavors.