2014 Rutherford Hill Cabernet



Straight Talk in Napa: Chimney Rock on the Cheap!

I am often asked what determines the price of a bottle of wine.  And the easy answer is “the price the market will bear.”

Many wineries (most especially on the domestic side of the industry) are actively engaged in defying gravity – what goes up in price, stays up in price.  Meaning once their wine has achieved a certain high price point, they don’t want it come down.

Which leads to a quandary.  What if the wine doesn’t sell?

One option would be to lower the price until it does sell.  But the problem is consumers (us) will never pay the high price again.

A better solution (at least to the winery) is to create a separate label.  Invent a wine if you will.  Or at least invent a place, or a name, usually fictitious, and put the “excess” wine into those bottles with the new label.  It’s a great way to move some juice while preserving the brand of the first wine.

And that is exactly what is going on here.

Years ago the Chimney Rock winery and estate teamed up with the Terlato family to make “Cabernets that rival the very best of Bordeaux.”  Situated right in the heart of the Stag’s Leap District, Napa Valley, many would claim that they have accomplished this mission, both with Chimney Rock’s own Cabernets as well as the Terlato family’s Cabernets.  Those various Cabernets sell for at least $50 a bottle, with many of them climbing up to $150 a bottle.

Now, I am here to tell you that Chimney Rock’s single vineyard Cabernets for $150 a bottle are great stuff.  But they also aren’t flying off the shelves.  So what did the Terlato family do?

They created “Rutherford Hill” winery, which is simply Chimney Rock’s Cabernets and the Terlato family Cabernets “declassified” and blended together.  The result is Rutherford Hill’s Cabernet, and we’ve got it at an incredible deal:

The wine opens with an explosion of blackberry, kirsh, over ripe Rainer cherries, mocha and dark chocolate.  It is a luxurious Cabernet (think of its heritage) whose structure is fully integrated, soft and incredibly supple.  2013 was a great vintage in Napa, with all the sunshine a grape could ever want, ripening to its full and maximum potential, creating wines of powerful concentration and enormous flavors.  Chimney Rock has been aging this Cabernet for us for four years – it’s ready to jump into your glass and party.  Let’s crack one open now.

All of this industry insider talk may sound unfair but it’s really just simple economics of supply and demand.  But hey, sometimes economics works in our favor.  Take advantage of this great offer.

And I am not the only one to like this Wine:

“92 points.

“Aromas of flowers and jam with dark fruit. Medium to full body, a solid core of ripe fruit and flavors of spices and berries. Delicious finish. A flamboyant young wine. Drink or hold.” – James Suckling

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