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Rutherford Hill Merlot 2006

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • WS89
  • TP93
  • WE89
  • WS88
  • W&S91
  • CG91
  • WE90
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3.5 1 Ratings

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 89
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.

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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.

North Coast

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Encompassing the grape-growing regions located north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano. Napa and Sonoma get all of the attention, but there are a few other counties producing great wine in Northern California. Two notable examples are Mendocino and Lake County, the northernmost winegrowing regions in the state. These AVAs are very different, both from their neighbors to the south and from one another.

Mendocino benefits from the cooling fog of the Pacific Ocean and is able to successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. There is a significant focus here on organic viticulture. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc are the dominant varieties. Both regions are excellent sources of high-quality but affordable California wines in a wide range of styles.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

SOU301999_2006 Item# 107217

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