Saturday, September 12, 2020

Rutherford Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Rutherford Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Following the serving of this label in a vintage birthyear release in a large format bottle, I picked up the current release to taste and compare. We served this label from the 1985 vintage in a six liter bottle at son Sean's wedding rehearsal dinner celebration two weeks ago. Then, last night we opened the same 1985 birthyear vintage bottle of Freemark Abbey which shared the same winemaker during that era. I wrote about the history of the two labels in blogspot features of those two tastings.

So with that backdrop, I picked up this current vintage release to compare and enjoy with carry out pizza for dinner in our hotel room.

The label interestingly notes Napa Valley Appellations (plural) to accentuate the point it is all sourced from Napa Valley, but multiple sites across the region. Rules dictate to say so, 75% of the juice in the bottle needs to be sourced from Napa Valley (appellations). In any event, this is the standard entry level Napa Cab for this producer. 

Rutherford Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

This was an ideal pizza wine with its vibrant forward fruits. 

Winemaker's notes: "This ripe, sleek, elegant wine is carefully crafted then properly cave aged in French oak within one of the most extensive natural cave systems in North America, providing the ideal temperature and humidity throughout the aging process. This wine exhibits intricate and intense flavors of dark plum and cassis, with a thread of spices. Lush in texture, with velvety tannins." 

Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, complex aromas of dark fruit, black currant, blackberries, & blueberries, layered with notes of cassis, herbs, anise, and spices, hints of cedar, spice and cola with nice texture and rich tannins on the lingering finish.  

RM 91 points.

Spectacular Wine Cheese Pairing featuring Cliff Lede Poetry 2004

Spectacular Wine Cheese Pairing featuring Cliff Lede Poetry 2004

With fellow Pour Boy and wine buddy Bill C in South Florida for the weekend, we visited the Wine Room Kitchen Wine and Cheese Bar in Delray Beach for a special wine tasting experience. We discovered the Wine Room Kitchen and Cheese Bar earlier this year and were eager to return and share the experience with a wine buddy when we returned to the area. 

As featured in these pages last winter, the Wine Room Kitchen have an extensive wine selection BTG - by the glass, and wine list and cellar collection available for near retail costs, below
what a traditional restaurant might charge. They also offer an extensive cheese and charcuterie selection.

The wine list and cellar features a broad selection of first growth Bordeaux including Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, and Super Second labels such as Ducru Beaucaillou, Leoville Las Cases and Pichon Lalande. They also feature premium and super premium Napa Cabernets including Diamond Creek, and this label, Cliff Lede Poetry

We opted to taste the Poetry as Bill and son Ryan are both club members and have extensive Lede collections. We've visited the Lede Estate on several occasions including a private tasting during our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2009

Poetry is the flagship label of the Cliff Lede portfolio, selected from the best parcels of the vintage, the best fruit from select vineyards. The label is produced in limited quantities, and only in years when the quality of the fruit and resulting wine are exceptional. It is sourced primarily from the steep hillside terraces of the Lede Estate Poetry Vineyard on the edge of the valley overlooking the Lede Estate across the Silverado Trail on the valley floor.

The Poetry Vineyard is the easternmost of our two estate Stags Leap District vineyards, located near the winery and the Twin Peaks estate vineyard. The vineyard sits on a steep west-facing high-exposure hillside below the luxurious Poetry Inn. The vineyard reaches from the highest elevation of the Stags Leap District Appellation down to the foothills near and almost to the valley floor. The terroir of the vineyard is a combination of shallow soils atop fractured shales and low-yielding old vines of Cabernet Sauvignon. The sloping hill provides for superb drainage and optimal sun exposure.

In 2004, 680 cases were produced in a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

Our tasting experience was highlighted by a wonderful, perfect wine and cheese pairing with Délice de Bourgogne, a French classic triple crème cheese made by producer Fromagerie Lincet in the Burgundy region of France where the company factory is located. 

We also paired it with Bayley Hazen Blue, a buttery, natural-rinded blue cheese made from high-quality whole raw cow's milk produced by Jasper Hill Farm, named after an old military road commissioned by George Washington across the Northeast Kingdom. 

Brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler who own the farm, developed the recipe for Bayley Hazen Blue by altering the shape and ageing process of a Devon Blue recipe from England so that the cheese rind will hold up in usual retail conditions. 

Cliff Lede "Poetry" Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate gave this 96 points, Wine Spectator 94 points.

This wine was superb, dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, elegant, polished and balanced, nearly flawless concentrated blackberry and black currant fruits with a symphony of seamlessly integrated flavor notes of mocha chocolate, vanilla, hints of licorice, violet, spice, tobacco leaf and black olive, turning to smooth velvety mouthfeel and silky tannins on a long sensual finish. 

RM 95 points.


 The girls joined us and we selected a Pride Sonoma County Syrah to taste alongside the cheese, charcuterie and delicious tomato basil soup. 

Pride Mountain Sonoma County Syrah 2013

The Pride Mountain Vineyards Estate, winery and vineyards sits high above St Helena atop Spring Mountain at the summit of the Mayacamas Range between Napa Valley to the east and Sonoma Valley to the west. 

We visited the estate during our Napa Wine Experience back in 1998.

The Sonoma County Syrah is selected from north-facing cooler slopes on the western side of the range, hence it is Sonoma, not Napa from the eastern side of the mountain. 

Dark inky garnet colored, full bodied, intense, concentrated, nicely balanced blackberry with notes of blueberry, black olive, black pepper, chocolate, spice and hints of mushroom and lavender, dry with high acidity, moderate fine grained tannins on a long flavorful finish.

RM 90 points.