7 Stellar Cabernet Sauvignons From Napa Valley’s Rutherford AVA

At the center of Napa Valley, the Rutherford AVA is situated between St. Helena to the north and Oakville to the south. Half of its 7,000 acres are covered with grapevines. Cabernet Sauvignon is the big winner here with more than 70 percent of the total plantation, followed by Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Around 300 acres are planted with white varieties including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Elevations range from 172 feet at the valley floor to over 500 feet in the Vaca Range and Mayacamas Mountains. The oldest winery in the region is Inglenook, which was lovingly restored by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. It was founded in 1879 and is the oldest continuously bonded winery in the AVA. The second oldest winery is Beaulieu Vineyard which was founded in 1900.

We tasted hundreds of Rutherford AVA wines and many of them exhibited the famous “Rutherford Dust” first mentioned by legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff who said, “It takes Rutherford dust to grow great Cabernet.” While numerous people think he was talking about the terroir and climate of Rutherford, many critics feel he was talking about the powdery tannins exhibited in many of these wines. For us, Rutherford Dust is a combination of both. Here are seven excellent wines we have enjoyed reviewing for you this week.

Best of Robb Report