Rutherford Dust

March 9, 2023 by
Maytte Rivera

In 1938, legendary Russian winemaker André Tchelistcheff arrived at Beaulieu Vineyards in the area of Rutherford in the Napa Valley of California.  He quickly noted that the wines from this region expressed aromas of wet soil and pencil shavings, very different from wines of the surrounding areas of the valley, and the term “Rutherford Dust” was born.  What gives the wines these unique characteristics? The soil in Rutherford is very complex, formed millions of years ago with a mixture of sedimentary rock, gravel, and sand. Because of its location in Napa Valley’s widest point, the vines benefit from more sun exposure during the growing season to achieve prime ripeness and full aromatic composition. Nights are significantly cooler, allowing grapes to retain natural acidity.  The result are full bodied wines with great ageing potential, and flavors of dark chocolate, dried leaves, and tobacco.

Cabernet Sauvignon has found a place in Rutherford, and many iconic wineries call this American Viticultural Area home.  Grab a bottle of Inglenook “Rubicon”, Nickel & Nickel “Quarry Vineyard”, or Heitz Cellars “Trailside Vineyard” for a taste of that Rutherford Dust.

Author: Maytte Rivera

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