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2000 Rudd Estate Jericho Canyon Meritage

I'm in love with a vineyard. Yes, I know it's irrational, but it's true. There seem to be only two wines made from this vineyard (based on a quick trolling through the top 150 search results on Google) and both of them have been great, one of them unbelievable.

My first exposure to this lovely little nook was off the end of the unbelievable scale. If only I had follwed my instincts and re-mortgaged my house to buy up every last bottle of the 2001 Ramey Jericho Canyon Cabernet when I tasted it at the Family Winemakers event in November. Four weeks later it had 97 points courtesy of Mr. Robert Parker, and it disappeared from the market.

My second was with this wine, which was lovely. The Rudd label is a recent addition to the Napa valley, occupying the Girard vineyard in Oakville, with neighbors like Silver Oak and Opus One. Winemaker Charles Thomas seems well integrated to his neigborhood based on this recent effort. It is a bright, but velvety, oak infused wine done in a classic Bordeaux style, that is reminiscent of Silver Oak. Here's what Robert Parker had to say: "A superbly dense, full-bodied, exquisite effort, it is a blockbuster, yet incredibly harmonious... a winemaking tour de force."

I wouldn't call it a tour de force, especially compared with the Ramey, but it's a darn good wine, and it turned my burning crush (if you'll forgive the pun) into a strong devotion for the fruit from Jericho. The wine is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

Tasting Notes:
This wine is the perfect shade of deep ruby that you dream about for your Cabernets. It shines like a great gemstone in the glass. It's nose is redolent of black cherries and fresh ground coffee, with a hint of woody scent that I am tempted to call cedar, but which eludes that label. The body of the wine is velvety with well integrated tannins, but does not feel as round as it could. The flavors on the tongue are of cherry, smoke, chocolate and a hint of floral notes that may be due to the Cab Franc or the Petite Verdot. The winemaker claims this wine has a long finish, but I found it medium at best, and unfortunately, a slightly hot finish which a wine this well made should not have. This ultimately lowered its score for me. I intend to drink it again over the next couple of days.

Food Pairing:
I just got a new barbecue, and served the wine with a rib eye and grilled asparagus. It was lovely with the meat, and brought out the sweetness of the asaparagus nicely.

Overall score: 8.5

How much?: I got mine for $59 at Cal Wine.. I believe it retails for anywhere from $63 to $100.

Comments (6)

Alder wrote:
03.19.04 at 9:27 AM

Funny, but I just discovered that the winemaker at Rudd is none other than David Ramey! I wonder if he owns this vineyard?

Alder wrote:
03.26.04 at 1:43 PM

Actually, it turns out that Ramey left Rudd in 2002 and was replaced by Charles Thomas, who is responsible for their wines moving forward.

Bleecher wrote:
04.11.04 at 2:57 AM

I was running a search to see if our new web site would come up yet (it won't), when I came across your comments. I was so excited to hear you loved our vineyard and Ramey's 2001 Jericho Canyon! David buys all of our grapes, but he also makes approx 475 cases/year which we bottle under our own name - surprisingly, it's called Jericho Canyon Vineyard. We will be releasing our 2001 in June. What a great vintage for our first release! Should you like to get on the mailing list, drop a note to [email protected]

Kip wrote:
06.06.04 at 1:26 PM

When should I drink this wine?

Alder Yarrow wrote:
06.07.04 at 7:36 AM

Thanks for your comment on Vinography.Com. You were asking about when to drink the 2000 Rudd Jericho Canyon Meritage. I should first tell you I'm far from expert at cellaring, so I'd cross reference everything I say with any other reputable source you're comfortable with. This is a pretty structured wine, so I think it will probably keep 5 to 10 years at least, but probably drink best in 6 to 7, so hang onto it for another 3-4 years at least and you'll see the tannins mellow a bit and make it even better than it is today.

Carol B. wrote:
02.26.08 at 9:02 AM

We had a bottle of this on Saturday night and it was delicious! I think it could still benefit from a little time, but it is drinking well now.

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