Positioned in the heart of Napa Valley, the Rutherford appellation enjoys sun exposure, climate and soils well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon. The significant percentage of new barrels wove oak complexity through the dark-fruit flavors. While this wine’s dynamic tannin structure promises excellent aging potential, it is approachable and food friendly in its youth. Splashes of Merlot and Petit Verdot deepened the color and added spicy notes.
Barrel Aging: 18 Months, 100% Barrel Aged (48% New Oak, predominantly French)
Varietal Composition: 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot
The expansive aromas and flavors of our 2008 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon are filled with brambly blackberry, dark plum, black cherry and cassis character. Hints of clove, black pepper and mocha add warmth to the aromas, while toffee and hazelnut notes from oak aging linger on the dark-fruit palate. Cocoa powder tannins, a signature of Rutherford terroir, firmly frame the generous, mouthfilling flavors.
To achieve the Rutherford Dust signature in this Cabernet Sauvignon, Provenance winemakers Tom Rinaldi and Chris Cooney selected 45 percent of the grapes from Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III, 15 percent from Hewitt Vineyard and 10 percent from our estate vineyard. These three outstanding vineyards are located in the Rutherford American Viticultural Area (AVA)—Vineyard Georges III on the eastern side and the Hewitt and Provenance estate vineyards on the west—where the valley’s sun exposure, climate and soils are particularly well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon. We selected the balance of the grapes from other exceptional vineyards within the Rutherford AVA.
The 2008 growing season presented its fair share of challenges for California’s winemakers, yet this Cabernet Sauvignon proves that Napa Valley was blessed—once again—with many truly remarkable wines. Mother Nature’s mood vacillated between agreeable and moody, yet provided enough ideal days for the grapes to reach full maturity. We harvested these perfectly balanced grapes as each reserve-quality vineyard section ripened, from early through late October.
After hand harvesting the fruit and then hand sorting it twice at the winery, we gently destemmed the grapes to retain at least 60 percent whole berries. Cold soaking before fermentation gently extracted the opulent color and flavors from the skins. We fermented a portion of the wine in small oak barrels for supple, approachable tannins and integration, and the balance in stainless steel tanks. Two to three weeks of skin contact—length dependent on variety and vineyard personality—developed varietal expression. In-barrel malolactic fermentation rounded the acidity, while 18 months of barrel aging added warm oak tones. We clarified the wine naturally with four rackings during aging. Finally, dashes of Merlot and Petit Verdot deepened the wine’s hue and added spicy notes.