Rutherford Hill Merlot 2006
Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Rutherford Hill's Merlot is an elegant, refined blend of classic Bordeaux varietals that create its rich aroma and flavor. The winery is perched high atop a hill overlooking Napa Valley, where the grapes are nurtured by deep volcanic soil and longer afternoon sun. An abundance of cherry fruit flavors are backed by a rich, balanced structure for an intensely complex Merlot. Silky, full-flavored, firm, and built for today's enjoyment with smooth tannins and lush layers of flavor.
Wine Spectator - "Soft and sleek, with appealing aromas of cherry and mocha that lead to bright flavors of tart red currant, sage and spice. Drink now through 2014."
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. View all Rutherford Hill Winery Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
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.
Notable FactsWithin 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 grated 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.
About CaliforniaIt'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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.