I know what I just said about not often being in the mood for a Cabernet Sauvignon. Maybe it’s the temperament of the times, or maybe because “tis the season to rosé all day and sip white wine on the porch,” and I’m nothing if not a wine rebel. Hah. Anyway, the mood struck me for a classic Cabernet. And by “classic,” I mean a wine that is in keeping with its varietal character, in keeping with the stylistic expectations of the region—and so not fancy. Because, Friday, you know? Well, that’s when I reach for good old reliable Rutherford Ranch estate Cabernet.
Carneros, known predominantly for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production, bridges the Sonoma-Napa County border. It’s the Napa side that I have a hard time with. With some of the region’s coolest climates the Pinot Noir here seems to be harsher, tighter, spicier — whereas I tend to favor my full-bodied, fruit-forward Russian River Pinots. But when it comes to Chardonnay, I like a bit more life, intrigue, rusticity, flavor. That same Carneros cooling effect gives the Chardonnays from the region just that: a marked acidity, minerality, and earthiness that shines right through — from stem to stemware.
I don’t like a lot of Merlot. I know I’ve said this before — It has nothing to do with an un-named movie, it’s just a personal experience thing. Many Merlots in my pre-wine adventure days, seemed to taste like bland, generic red table wine: boring, flavorless, not worth the time and effort. But I’ve learned to not let one or two (or half a dozen) bad eggs spoil the whole bunch. Just note, when I write about a Merlot, it means it’s a wine worth at least exploring. Cheers, Rutherford Ranch: you made the cut.
I’m not a huge lover of Sauvignon Blanc. Except when I’m craving it. Then I have to have it. It’s big flamboyant floral aromas and fruity flavors that borderline stink of pineapple. Like a gore-y movie that keeps you squinting and squirming through the whole flick and makes you wonder “Dear God, why, am I watching this???” Because sometimes you just want to watch something awful. And sometimes you really want to drink something stinky. It’s just a fact of human nature. And so, if/when you find yourself craving that stereotypical Sauvignon Blanc stink, I do believe that Rutherford Ranch has found a way to present that in a most palatable way.