Wine Of The Month: A Red Blend From Rutherford

Food & Drink

An icon of Napa’s Rutherford AVA, the Quintessa Estate has produced consistently reliable and nuanced wines over the decades, and is a pioneer in organic-biodynamic farming practices. This bottling represents the estate’s “single and only expression that offers a glimpse into Rutherford’s chemical-free, pre-industrial history.” Fifteen vineyard blocks contributed to the wine, considered the estate’s iconic proprietary blend.

The 2019 vintage is Cabernet Sauvignon driven (91%), the rest composed of other Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Franc (4%), an even split between Merlot and Carmenere and 1% of Petit Verdot. The wine is considerably mellowed by the 22 months it spent in 60% French oak, with fine, elegant tannins complementing the concentrated but still bright fruit profile. Those fruits are dark, as you’d expect: black cherry, cassis, plum, but are plush and completely in balance with the wood spice—mostly vanilla—and earthier notes such as savory herbs, cedar, gravel and forest bramble. Given all this concentration, the wine is surprisingly light on its feet: fresh and linear, not at all weighed down by any kind of preponderance that one often finds in California Cab.

Drink this now but you can also wait it out a few years, even a decade or two, says Rebekah Wineburg in her notes: “A complex of flower, forest, fruit, and earth notes harmonize with fine-grained tannin and vibrant acidity. It is a wine of precision as well as transparency. The 2019 Quintessa will drink well now for those who prefer a youthful expression but will also last in cellar for at least another 20 years for those who enjoy the complexities of age.”

SRP: Prices range from $239, if you can find it, but generally $269+/-

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