Monday, February 8, 2021

Rudd Estate Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

Rudd Estate Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

With a winter storm warning and heavy snow falling for the last six hours, Linda grilled some beef steaks served with baked potatoes and mixed vegetables. I pulled from the cellar a robust Napa Cabernet for the occasion seeking a suitable accompaniment to the grilled steak. This proved to be a perfect selection. 

Founder Leslie Rudd began his wine career working in his father’s alcoholic beverage wholesale distribution business in Wichita, Kansas. Over time he grew Standard Beverage Corporation to be the state’s largest alcoholic beverage wholesaler.

Leslie expanded into the specialty foods business launching and investing in several national restaurants and eventually acquiring iconic Dean & DeLuca, which he owned until 2014. In 2007 he acquired the legendary Oakville Grocery in Oakville, Napa Valley, which he renovated in 2012.

Rudd purchased the Oakville Napa Valley winery in 1996 and immediately set upon enhancing and expanding the caves and winery facilities opening in 1999.

Leslie Rudd passed in 2018, after handing control of his estate to his daughter Samantha.

This 2001 Rudd Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon was the inaugural vintage of this label, vinified by David Ramey but finished by Charles Thomas, who assumed winemaking responsibilities there in the spring of 2002. 

Packaged in a heavy oversized bottle, at twenty years, the cork was moist and slightly soft but intact and this wine was drinking superbly, likely still at or near the apex of its drinking profile.

This is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, (2,150 cases were produced.)

It was awarded 95 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points by Wine Enthusiast, 93 points by Connoisseurs Guide and 92 points by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. 

Dark garnet inky purple colored, medium-full bodied - concentrated expressive bright vibrant firm yet elegant and nicely balanced, structured blackberry and black currant fruits are accented by floral aromatics with notes of cola, sweet mocha and oak with hints of cassis and graphite on a sweet fruit filled lingering silky tannin laced finish. 

RM 93 points.


Château Cantemerle Haut Medoc Bordeaux 1985

Château Cantemerle Haut-Médoc 5ème Cru Classé Bordeaux 1985 

For Super Bowl festivities and feasting with son Sean on his birthday, I pulled a vintage wine from his birth year to share watching the big game.

Château Cantemerle is a Bordeaux Fifth Growth, located in the Haut-Médoc on the left bank of the Gironde river near the communes of Ludon and Macau about twenty km north of the town of Bordeaux. We passed through the village near the property on the route up to Margaux during our Bordeaux Wine Experience in 2019.

Château Cantemerle has a long rich history ic estate dating back to the 12th Century. Lord of Cantemerle bought beside Henri III of England in 1242. The chateau was part of a series of fortified structures that defended the Gironde and had its own port. The earliest records of viticulture date back to 1354 shen Lord Cantemerle paid his tithes in in clairet wine. 

When the great 1855 Classification of Bordeaux occurred, Cantermerle vineyards covered 255 adjacent to La Lagune. In 1867 Château Cantemerle received a silver medal at the World's Fair in Paris.

The modern history of the château began in 1892 when Théophile-Jean Dubos' purchased the estate which was passed down through the family until the 1980s. 

Many of Cantemerle's vineyards were pulled out during the two world wars, and were replanted in the 1980s, expanding the vineyard area from 20 hectares (50 acres) to 90ha (220 acres) by 1999. Since then, the estate has expanded considerably and has undergone modernization of the production and winemaking facilities. Production today is about 400,000 bottles each year.

The vineyards are planted to 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. The vines, the majority of which are Cabernet Sauvignon, are on average 30 years old.

The soil in Cantemerle's vineyards is a mixture of silica sand and gravel, reasonably poor, thereby forcing the vines to struggle, resulting in grapes with high levels of aromatic concentration. 

Château Cantemerle Haut Medoc Bordeaux 1985 

The cork was moist and reasonably intact, however it broke and crumbled in two upon extraction, despite using a ahso two pronged cork puller (below). I removed the last quarter using a traditional screw. I was too hasty and aggressive in extraction and believe it would've remained in tact had I exercised more patience and care.

 Still holding on at thirty-five years, a testament to the ageworthiness of Bordeaux, still somewhat elegant, dark garnet colored with edges of brown starting to set in, medium bodied, the blackberry and black cherry fruits are giving way to non-fruit notes of bacon fat, cigar box, tobacco with hints of leather, tar and earth with subtle tannins on the moderate finish. 

RM 88 points.