What's In a Name

Today we did our first tasting with our new Josh, as we have two others in the store by the same name. Isn’t that crazy? What we tried was a wine that has the name “Rutherford” in it, which brings me to the title of this missive.

A few years ago The Napa Valley Vineyard Association began making waves over non-Napa Valley based wineries having the names of many of the wine districts in Napa. In short time such names as Napa Ridge, Napa Creek, and Rutherford Vineyards were eliminated because the wineries did not use Napa Valley grapes for a minimum amount of the wines in the bottle. That little act eliminated a lot of confusion, and helped guarantee that the Napa folks would not have to compete with faux wineries that used less expensive grapes from god knows where in their bottlings. Sometimes, a name is important…

Rutherford Ranch is a Napa Valley staple sitting on The Silverado Trail. At one time my buddy Ray Coursen was the winemaker, but Ray always wanted his own thing so he created Elyse Winery. The wine we did today is the 2012 Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay, and this might be the best value in a Napa chard on the market today. When Kate, Scott, and Josh III tasted the wine, the aromas elicited words like passion fruit, some grapefruit hints, flowers, ripe apple, and citrus nuances. Acids were leaning to a Burgundian personality, the flavors were fresh and clean, and the finish was really a slide of fruit, finesse, and flesh. Calling it “food friendly” is too encompassing, but this is a very good $20 chard. That said, the price until September 1 is $14 the bottle, or $151 the case.

There have been two reviews I could find on this wine, with the first one being The Wine Advocate: “A terrific floral and tropical fruit-scented and flavored white, this 2012 Chardonnay offers up notes of orange marmalade and caramelized citrus. Pure, rich and fruity, it was aged in a combination of stainless steel and barrel, and the fruit comes entirely from Napa Valley (even more amazing for $19 a bottle). It should continue to drink well for several years.”

The other review is from Wine Align but I do not have any history with the review. It is: “Sustainability is at the core of wines at Rutherford Ranch, which impressively boasts 100% sustainably produced products. This is a discreet, nicely balanced, harmonious chardonnay that is modern and stylish. Quite smooth, linear and complete. Good quality of fruit without too much oak influence. Price is quite reasonable. Very good length. Sara d’Amato, WineAlign”

This is a very good wine at an exceptional price. Which reminds me, all of you who ordered the Perlita Malbec last week will be getting it as I sourced some from a Cleveland warehouse and I hope to have it this week.

Let me know. Thanks!



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