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Rutherford Hill Merlot - $87.99

Wine Details

Vintage: 2000
Price: $87.99
Producer: Rutherford Hill
Region: Napa Valley
Varietal: Merlot
Container Size: 750 ML
  • Red Wine
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Product Description

  • A stellar example of why Rutherford Hill is king of the Merlot world, the 2004 vintage is rich with aromas of berries and cocoa. Flavors of dark cherries and chocolate abound in this soft and fleshy, balanced Merlot. The finish is silky and lingering with a hint of vanilla, cinnamon and tobacco. Delicious, alone as an aperitif, as well as when paired with hearty foods like roasts, lamb and steak.
  • Founded in 1972, Rutherford Hill Winery is a pioneer in the development of California Merlot. The grape growers who founded Rutherford Hill carefully studied the geography of the region and capitalized on climate and soil conditions that resembled those of Pomerol, the small but distinctive Merlot-growing region of Bordeaux. What a promising discovery that was - one that has borne plenty of fruit - specifically, the lush, purple-black grapes that have contributed so much to Rutherford Hill's success. Today, Merlot remains the flagship wine of the company with 75 percent of Rutherford Hill's production dedicated to this varietal, one of the leading Merlots of Napa Valley.

Expert Ratings

Ratings   Vintage Source Flavors
WineEnthusiast - 84 Details: A little simple and easy, but there’s a wealth of raspberry, strawberry and floral notes in this delicate wine. It’s a bit too sweet for my tastes, although it does have good acidity. 2004 WineEnthusiast raspberry, strawberry
WineSpectator - 88 Details: Complex, with perfumed plum and black cherry fruit flavors that are supple and polished, with good intensity, depth and length. Fine-grained tannins show through on the finish, along with a touch of cedar and herb. This tightly wound youngster has room to grow. Drink now through 2009. 72,000 cases made. –JL 2002 WineSpectator
WineSpectator - 86 Details: Supple, with very good depth to the black cherry, currant and cocoa flavors. Cedar, vanilla and round tannins highlight the finish. Drink now through 2006. 72,000 cases made. – 2001 WineSpectator black cherry, cedar, currant, vanilla
WineEnthusiast - 85 Details: Generous in ripe blackcurrant and cherry fruit, and well-oaked. There’s an angularity to the mouthfeel and a sharpness to the finish that detract. May soften with a few years of aging. 72,000 cases produced. 2001 WineEnthusiast cherry
WineSpectator - 87 Details: Firm, with a mix of herb, cedar, pencil lead and currant. It loses some of its intensity and flavor on the finish. Well-balanced. Drink now through 2007. 95,000 cases made. –JL 2000 WineSpectator cedar, currant, herb
Tastings - 87 Details: Brilliant ruby red hue. Oak, black cherry and dill aromas. A rich entry leads to a moderately full-bodied palate and a generous finish offering good depth of fruit, youthful tannins and high acidity. Not showy, but a more earthy, refined style 2000 Tastings
WineEnthusiast - 87 Details: Berry and earth aromas open to a palate with a strong herbaceous note and a lean, structured feel. Perhaps more European in style, it shows surprising hardness and a tart quality to the fruit. Should open and soften some with aging, but seems as if it will always be on the lean side. 1999 WineEnthusiast berry, earth, herbaceous
WineEnthusiast - 88 Details: Dark cherry fruit and herb flavors with chocolate/cocoa accents mark this mid-weight red. Not as deep or rich as the 1997 and somewhat backward, it has good Merlot character but can use a year or two to smooth and perhaps flesh out a bit. Finishes dry with even tannins and decent length. 1998 WineEnthusiast cherry, chocolate, herb flavors
WineEnthusiast - 90 Details: This nicely textured wine shows a stylish nose and good depth, with a bouquet of black cherry, cocoa and anise. A big wine, with a plush, rich mouthfeel, it pours on classy plum and chocolate flavors in an accessible manner. Full but even tannins show on the tart cherry finish. Enjoyable now, even better in one or two years. 1997 WineEnthusiast
WineEnthusiast - 88 Details: Full on the palate with cedar, smoke, earth and plum notes, this solid wine shows good structure and complexity. Features black-cherry and mocha flavors, a soft, velvety mouthfeel and a long, softly tannic finish. 1996 WineEnthusiast black-cherry, cedar, earth, mocha, plum, smoke
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Food Pairings

Category Pairing
Cheese Parmesan
Red Meat Beef, Grilled Filet Mignon, Grilled Beef, Glazed Pork, Lamb, Grilled or Roast Leg, Grilled or Broiled Chops or Rack of Lamb, Veal
Poultry & Eggs Chicken w/Lemon, Duck Confit, Game Birds
Vegetables Corn, Roasted, Mushrooms, Potatoes, Sauteed Potatoes
Sauces Red Wine Sauce

Wine Terms

Name Value
Merlot (mer loh) Deep in color, high in alcohol and low in tannins, this grape is grown mostly in California, France, Washington, New York and Chile. The aromas and flavors can be plummy, chocolaty, and even redolent of tea leaves. It is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon although it is the most prevalent grape variety in Bordeaux.
Napa This tiny strip of land just north of San Francisco is home to America’s most prestigious wineries. Its climate is ideal for viticulture. Ironically, it was deemed too ideal for some vintners, who have moved their vineyards from the valley’s flat plain to the hills in the east and west, adhering to the idea that grapes that struggle to grow yield better wine. The climate, soil, and individual wineries are enormously varied, so it’s impossible to identify a singular trait of Napa wines. In addition, nearly every noble grape is grown here, although Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the primary grapes. In the past, Napa’s wines have alternated between extremely fruity and fat to lean and subtle. Today the best Napa wines have achieved a balance between these extremes. Many are made to be drunk young and have abundant ripe fruit; others can be initially hard and tannic, but soften over four or five years to perfumed, cedary fruit. White Napa wines are excellent with fresh-grilled fish and chicken, but can also cope with more spicy and creamy flavors. Many Napa reds will overwhelm delicate cuisine, but rich red meat and cheeses do make good companions.
United States Wineries exist in all fifty states, but the most predominant (and best) wine comes from Northern California, Oregon, and Washington State, with New York gaining a foothold in the industry. American wines make up about 75% of all wine sales in the US. The appellation system uses the term AVA (American Viticultural Area) to determine where wines were produced, but grape varieties can be planted anywhere in the country. American wineries generally use varietal labeling, and government regulations require that the variety on the label must make up at least 75% of the blend (in Oregon it’s 90%). The words reserve, special selection, private reserve, classic, and so on have no legal definition in the US. Some wineries use these terms to indicate their better wines; others use the words as a marketing tool to move lower quality wines off the shelf.
California California produces the majority of wine made in the United States. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir dominate the wine production in California, but many other varietials thrive in the California climate. Many fine wines are produced in California using Mediterranean grapes.
Napa County Napa County is located north of the San Francisco Bay Area in California. At the north end of Napa County is the Bay Area's second tallest peak Mount Saint Helena, and to the far south of Napa County lays the section of the Napa Valley that bleeds into Carneros. When the first white settlers arrived in the early 1830s, there were six tribes in the valley speaking different dialects and they were often at war with each other. The Mayacomos tribe lived in the area where Calistoga was founded. Napa County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Napa Valley is widely considered one of the top wine regions in California and all of the United States. By the end of the nineteenth century there were more than one hundred and forty wineries in the area. Today Napa Valley features more than two hundred wineries and grows many different grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Zinfandel. The region is visited by as many as five million people each year, making it the second to Disneyland as the most popular tourist destination in California.

Tasting Notes

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