The Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon was the first appellation wine to be introduced in our Cabernet series of very small bottlings dedicated to the benchland sub-appellations of Napa Valley.
Source: Rutherford, Napa Valley
Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Harvest Dates: September 8 – September 11, 2015
Vinification: 100% French oak barrels (75% new) for 20 months
By The Numbers: pH: 3.63 | TA: 0.60 gms/100ml | ABV: 14.8%
Production: 224 cases
Bold, attention getting and a bit of a statement wine, immediately recognizable for its Rutherford attributes. Full and richly round, aromas and flavors of black fruits framed with cassis and mints lead, with floral notes of violet and evident oak spice and cloves. Plum preserves, black currants and wild blackberry set the stage for well-integrated tannins and a lingering, memorable finish.
Fruit from the 10.77 acre Morisoli Vineyard in the heart of the Rutherford Bench has been the sole source for this expression of Etude Cabernet since 2009. Currently under the watchful eye of fourth generation grower Gary Morisoli, this pioneering vineyard with gravelly Bale clay loam soil and classic Rutherford dust produces some of the most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa Valley. Retained heat from the ground helps to concentrate the intense crushed berry character that defines Rutherford Cabernet as having an “iron fist in a velvet glove."
Early, a bit challenged by the cumulative impact of the drought years, but exceptional in quality for the smaller amount of fruit that was harvested. That’s the record of the 2015 growing season. A mild winter caused early bud break, followed by protracted bloom and unseasonably cool weather in spring, contributing to smaller grape clusters and variable crop size.
The grapes were cold soaked for 3-5 days and fermented on their skins in open top fermenters. An extended maceration period followed fermentation to help modify the depth and mouthfeel of the wine, and to fully extract color, flavor and aromatics. The young wine was then racked into small French oak barrels – using a selection of coopers and forests to accentuate the vineyard distinctions – where it aged for 20 months in 100% French Oak (75% new). Each lot was kept separate until final blending. The resulting wine was returned to barrel for an additional nine months of aging.