The perfect gift for your Napa loving wine friends.
Napa Valley is home to some of the most prominent soil types, microclimates, winemakers, and producers in the United States. As a result, this 30 mile stretch has drawn our interest and captured our hearts year after year because it always has something exciting to offer. When we first visited Napa back in 2016, we wandered around not really knowing where to start or where we even were for that matter. It was serendipitous that the very first AVA (American Viticultural Area) we stumbled upon was Rutherford. All that to say, I have a soft spot for this particular area which is why I feel elated to be sharing this prominent winery with you today – Rutherford Ranch Winery. Rutherford Ranch is on the original site of Round Hill Winery that was established back in 1978. While the team has made great strides to modernize their facility since then, there’s still the same rustic charm from back in the day! Like a 100 year old olive grove to swoon over as you sip your way through show-stopping wines in a rustic and inviting atmosphere.
For those who are Napa novices, there are currently 16 sub-AVAs nested within the greater Napa Valley AVA, and centrally located in the heart of all 16 is where you will find Rutherford. Rutherford is located along the valley floor in the widest part of Napa which means it receives more sun than it’s valley floor neighbors. With gravelly soil, sunny and warm daytime temps, and cold nights the wines produced here are often characterized by soft yet grainy tannins and dense fruit flavors. This softer, aromatic wine style is highly regarded and associated with the term “Rutherford Dust.” If you want to experience this firsthand, Rutherford Ranch Winery is the perfect place to start as they offer several award-winning Cabernets. This winery has been family-owned and operated for three generations and the team is highly focused on sustainability throughout the winemaking process. They say it takes Rutherford Dust to make great Cab, so fostering the environment and crafting earth-friendly wines is what sets this one apart. The estate is certified sustainable through the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance which a true testament to generational farming.
I had the privilege of tasting through the Napa Explorer Package as market research for holiday gifting. The verdict: this is the best value for your money when it comes to gifting high quality Napa wines. This trio includes a Napa Valley Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each flavor profile perfectly aligns with the spirit of Christmas – let’s dive in!
2018 Napa Chardonnay
This is a nearly perfect vintage. Spring was unseasonably cool which resulted in a late budbreak followed by mild temps for the growing and ripening seasons. Wines of this vintage are elegant and balanced which is exactly how I will categorize this Chardonnay. It’s a perfect example of why serious wine enthusiasts love Napa Chardonnay – it’s lush, aromatic, and ripe. It’s giving notes of ripening stone fruit, dried apricot, golden apples, lemon meringue, and baking spice. The structure is what keeps me coming back for more: full bodied, racy acidity, and a creamy texture. This is a wine that can follow a heavy hitting Cabernet, which a sign of craft and quality in my opinion.
Next up we have an enticing Merlot which has all the holiday elements we’re loving this season. Picture bing cherry, anise, baking spice, brooding black fruit, and undertones of vanilla from oak aging. It’s round and complex, approachable and food-friendly.
2019 Cabernet Sauvignon
2019 received far more rainfall than the previous vintage and had a long and warm summer with few heatwaves. As a result, this is a classic example of Napa Cab. It’s precise, balanced, and well structured. I can’t rave enough about the Rutherford Dust in this one. With enticing aromas of boysenberry, cassis, toasted caramel, dark berries, earl grey tea, and minerality… this will put a smile on any recipients face!
One thing I value when featuring a wine is accessibility. I’m excited to share that you can now find Rutherford Ranch wines in stores in addition to online. When you see the white and red label on your shelf, be sure to grab a few! Truly this is a terrific value for classic but also nuanced wines from the historic Napa Valley wine growing region.
Bonus: use my code SMASHLEY to save 10% off any holiday gift pack online. Happy shopping, wine friends!
Thanks for sipping with us!
@smashleythegrape | The Social Grapes LLC