This superb wine is the full expression of Napa's finest vineyards. This is achieved by allowing the grapes to reach even and full ripeness. This added "hang time" enabled this wine to become a classic Napa Valley Cabernet. This wine has a bright concentrated blackberry and cassis fruit core enveloped in aromas and flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, French roast coffee, and cedarthat fills the palate with both flavor and texture. The fruit flavors linger after you swallow and slowly melts into the elegant layers of flavor provided by the finest French Oak barrels. The abundant mature tannins are rich, making this wine enjoyable now, and balanced with the fruit insuring this wine will drink well for over a decade.
Rutherford Hill Winery
Nestled high in the Eastern Hills, Rutherford Hill Winery commands a spectacular view overlooking the Rutherford bench of Napa Valley. It is from a handful of the most select Napa vineyards that Rutherford Hill continues its tradition of crafting legendary wines. In 1976, while the rest of the world was just beginning to take notice of Napa Valley, the founders of Rutherford Hill recognized a unique opportunity. They believed that the climate and soil of the valley, similar to Pomerol, were well suited to Merlot and were among the first to pioneer what has become Napa's premier varietal. Today, this tradition of quality continues, expressed by wines of great complexity and character.
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It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.