The Wines of Rutherford Hill

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

The tour of Rutherford Hill was wonderful, but it is the wine that was amazing.

Rutherford Hill MerlotRutherford Hill Cabernet SauvignonI am ashamed to say that I can not remember the unique attributes of each of the wines that I sipped on my tour. I was taken with all the sights and sounds going on around me. They were excellent (I hate not having enough hands to do everything that I want to at the same time).

The wines that I drank along the route were the 2005 Merlot and the 2004 Merlot Reserve and the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon which were wonderful.

When we got back to the tasting room, I got to taste some of the more wonderful wines.

My VinturiThe 2006 Malbec smelled and tasted of blueberries and cherries. The 2006 Petit Verdot smelled of coffee and tasted of black cherries and chocolate. I got a special treat with the winemakers blend getting to taste it both poured regularly and decanted via a Vinturi.  Now in all fairness, the wine smelled and tasted good before I got to taste the version poured through the Vinturi.  But after it was?  WOW!  That is all I can say.  The aroma was fuller and more dramatic.  The taste?  With more body and soul. WOW!  I was so impressed with the Vinturi’s job, I bought one to take home.  It even has the Terlato logo on it.  So I will always remember my trip to Rutherford Hill (as if I could forget).

Angel's PeakCardinal's PeakFrom there we moved on to the to some of the Terlato Family Vineyard wines.  After reading Anthony Terlato’s book, Taste: A Life in Wine (I love my iPhone Kindle reader…  you take your reading with you literally everywhere.)  The Terlato wines are produced at the Rutherford estate vineyard, but in the vineyard within the vineyard.  The idea was to raise the quality of the Rutherford wines which represents the chief goal of the family.  Personally, I believe that the wines achieve this goal in spades!

EpisodePortThe Angels Peak’s is lush with a plum taste and tobacco-y.  The Cardinal’s Peak was more wood and leather with jam overtones.  My favorite of the three was the Devil’s Peak with its smooth and complex flavors.  The “Peak” series are Tony Terlato’s homage to the wines of Bordeaux, France.  These wines are blends of the best of the vineyard and made to express the best elements of the grapes.  The Episode wine, on the other hand, seem to be an expression of place – Napa.  The wine was intense and lingering on the palate.  I brought a bottle home as a thank you to my folks for helping me with my trip.  Dad, naturally is saving it.  I hope he allows us to open it for Christmas!

The last wine that I tasted at Rutherford Hill was the 2004 Zinfandel Port.  I have to admit that I am something of a Port snob in that I rarely find one that I like from America.  This one was made in the style that an authentic Port would be made but used Zinfandel instead of the traditional grapes.  The result is an American expression of Portuguese tradition.

I was sad to be leaving Rutherford Hill but as I lugged my box of wine (I can’t resist buying a few bottles) but was looking forward to the second part of my Terlato family adventure – my trip to Chimney Rock!