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Rutherford Hill Chardonnay 2010

Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
    13.8% ABV
    • WE87
    • WS88
    • W&S90
    All Vintages
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    13.8% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Chardonnay's favored position among wine drinkers is well established. Our 2010 Chardonnay is fresh and lively yet pleasantly round with a gorgeously complex nose and a surprisingly lengthy finish. Think lemon chiffon pie: citrusy and bright yet a bit toasty and creamy. Vineyards in Napa Valley's cool southern end are at the heart of this wine's exquisite execution. Wine is made in the vineyard is a phrase heard often around here. Our 2010 vintage illustrates this fact very well. The utilization of whole-cluster pressing, barrel fermentation and sur lie aging are among the traditional steps employed to create this crowd-pleasing stylish wine.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Rutherford Hill

    Rutherford Hill Winery

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    Rutherford Hill Winery, , California
    Rutherford Hill
    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.

    Santa Maria Valley

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    A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely east to west starting near the coast, allowing Pacific Ocean air to funnel through and cool the vineyards. This allows grapes to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, this creates an ideal environment for grape growing.

    Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has proven quite successful in the region as well. Many vineyards here are owned by growers who sell their grapes to wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottle from different wineries. Bien Nacido is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.

    Pinot Noir

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    One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

    In the Glass

    Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

    Perfect Pairings

    Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

    Sommelier Secret

    Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

    SOU325787_2010 Item# 123926

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