We considered popping a pricier bottle for New Year’s Eve but didn’t feel worthy of it, being tired from having just come home from a trip. The Rutherford Ranch Cab turned out to be more than satisfactory.
We visited the Rutherford Ranch Winery for a tasting during our trip to California in November so we were eager to try a bottle at home where we could decant, sip slowly, and write notes. At the winery we tasted the Proprietor’s Selection and the Estate Cab, but the Rutherford Ranch, Napa Valley varietals seem to be the wines that are widely available. The grapes for this Cab are sourced from Rutherford vineyards as well as other Napa Valley sub-appellations. Small amounts of Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot are blended with 93% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The ruby-colored pour sparkles in the muted lighting against the fireplace backdrop. The nose opens up immediately with aromatic fresh fruits. Bright cherry and blackberry combine with notes of vanilla and anise. A whiff of herbal tea lies in wait.
On the palate, a youthful mix of currants and plums are accompanied by modest spice and graphite. The fairly full-bodied mouth feel reveals the added complexity of anise during the second pour. Oak tannins emerge in a moderately long finish. The berry fruits revisit for the finale.
Overall, Rutherford Ranch is an excellent example of a Napa Cab for under $20 and on our list to buy again.