Raymond Vineyard & Cellar
2005 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Estate Vineyard
California: Rutherford (Napa)
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Mission Codename: The Ladies and Lords of Rutherford
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Raymond Vineyards and acquire their exceptional Rutherford Cab.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Raymond Vineyards & Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Walter Raymond
Backgrounder: Raymond Vineyards, located in Napa Valley’s Rutherford AVA was founded in 1971, by one of America’s first-families of wine, the Raymond family. In the United States, ‘multi-generational’ in winemaking usually means two or three generations have been involved in crafting wines. Kristi Raymond, whose great grandfather was winemaking pioneer, Jacob Beringer, is a fifth generation winemaker and head of winemaking for Raymond today.
The Rutherford AVA is among the most famous names in the valley and is primarily know for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Located just south of St. Helena, Raymond’s slogan is Powerful Wines – Deep Roots. After you taste this wine, you’ll understand that its more than a slogan, its a way of life.
Agent Red was sent back to Raymond Vineyards to retrieve their legendary Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. Read his tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark ruby red with a deep and very dark core. Lighter ruby edges ring the glass, and when the wine is swirled, it shows off a bouncy and fast-moving surface that leaves behind tightly-packed and chubby legs that take a moment to emerge before they rocket down the glass!
Smell – Bold, dark and complex with lush aromatics. Balanced dark fruit of blackberry, blueberry, cassis and black cherry is tempered against chocolate dust, soft spice and dried fall leaves
Feel – Light and velvet-smooth on entry, then quickly more grippy as plushest fine tannins take hold at the top of the tongue, coating the mouth and introducing a soft dryness
Taste – Layered with flavors, this wine is deliciously loaded with fruit of dark berries, earthen bramble, soft spices, bakers chocolate and a soft minerality
Finish – Extremely long, leading off with bright fruit that gradually surrenders to the darker side of the wine as the lush tannins take hold, adding slight dryness that begs you to take another sip
Conclusion – This is the third – and best – Raymond that we have brought you. This stupendous wine that is drinking beautifully now, and I suspect that it will for several more years. A balanced wine that invites you to experiment with both small sips and large mouth-fulls, this Napa Cab is a serious wine that is a delight to drink – either on its own, or with a great meal. Where many Napa Cabs might overpower a meal, this wine will compliment most foods. Its bright acids make it an easy pairing partner. If you are looking for an elegant wine that is also very approachable, I could not recommend this wine more highly!
It’s Agent Red’s Birthday today, so we cut him a little slack by sending him home with a few bottles of today’s superb Raymond Rutherford Cab and republishing his original mission report. Wish Agent Red a Happy Birthday by following him – and sending him a message – on Twitter.
Here is a transcript of Agent Red’s original conversation with Krisi Raymond:
I caught up with Krisi Raymond recently, to talk with her about today’s wine. The was no easy feat, mind you. With harvest in full swing, the life of a winemaker is in full-on frenzy mode.
What follows is the transcription of our conversation:
the phone rings
AGENT RED: Go for Red
KRISI RAYMOND: Hi Red, its Krisi Raymond.
RED: Krisi! Hi! Thanks for calling me! I know how busy you must be.
KRISI: I found a free moment so I thought I’d call. I know that I could get called away so…
RED: I appreciate that. What’s happening in your world right now?
KRISI: Well, we’re about half way through the harvest. We’re still waiting for Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah, but nearly everything else is off the vine.
RED: How were the yields this year?
KRISI: We got lucky and had no damage in our estate vineyards. Some of our growers and friends from other wineries got hit hard. Some lost up to 75% of their crop!
RED: Ouch. Did your location protect you from the frost, or was it the timing?
KRISI: Both actually. We saw little frost, and bloom was also late this year. If the frost had hit during bloom, it would have been more bleak.
RED: Well, that’s good news for you. Listen, I know we don’t have much time, but tell me about your Small Lot Red Wine. We love it, by the way.
KRISI: Thanks! I’m happy to hear that. And, we are happy to let The Wine Spies have the exclusive on the wine. I am sure that your Operatives will love it, too.
RED: I’m sure they will, and thanks so much for allowing us to sell the wine. Its not available anywhere else, except the winery, so we are very proud to be showing it!
KRISI: This is our first release of this wine and it was a real labor of love for us. Each component wine was placed in separate barrels, where they sat for 17 months. Blending was done by the entire winemaking team, each of us tinkering and contributing.
RED: The backbone of the wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, which is what Raymond is best known for, right?
KRISI: Exactly. It makes good sense that we would include our Estate Cabernet fruit in this blend.
RED: But the other varietals give the wine a brightness and slight spice that make it come alive…
KRISI: Yes, the Merlot and Cabernet Franc were blended with Petite Sirah for richness and body along with Zinfandel for that slight spicy zing.
RED: A great effort, Krisi. Our Operatives are big red blend fiends so I’m sure they’ll be taking advantage.
a series of tones sound
KRISI: That’s my pager! The vineyards call!!
RED: Thanks, Krisi! I appreciate your time. Let’s catch up again soon to discuss showing another of your great wines!
KRISI: Will do, Red. Agent Raymond – OUT!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Raymond Vineyards and Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Raymond Vineyards & Cellars, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Awards & Accolades:
93 Points – Just Wine Points
91 Points – Wine Enthusiast
90 Points “Collectable High-End Cabernets” – Ken’s Wine Guide
About This Wine:
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this opulent wine opens with ripe fruit aromas of blueberry, blackberry and currant followed by earth, spice and mocha notes. Full-bodied with a rich mouth feel and silky smooth flavors of boysenberry, blackberry, blueberry, black pepper, spicy earth, cassis and cocoa. Well structured with nicely integrated tannins and a long, lingering finish.
Production Notes: The grapes were fermented on the skins for ten days at 72-85° with pumpovers twice daily. After fermentation, the wine was gently pressed, racked and aged in 100% new, tight grained, medium toast Nevers oak barrels for 19 months. Tight grained French oak barrels impart their oak to wines slowly for a consistent, well-rounded aging process while yielding subtle oak influences to the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Food Pairing: A classic Cabernet to pair with grilled filet mignon or rib eye with wild mushrooms, roast duck, braised beef short ribs, herb roasted rack of lamb, wild game, Portobello mushrooms with a blue cheese cream sauce, hearty winter stews like Cassoulet and smoke roasted sage crusted pork loin.
About The Vineyard:
The grapes for the Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon come from our family’s original Rutherford estate property purchased in 1970. The vineyard has a Lyre trellis system pruned to quadrilateral cordons with vines spaced eight feet apart and ten feet between each row. The maturity of the vines contribute to the concentrated Cabernet flavors and the rich Rutherford soils, with their good drainage, are an essential component in high quality grape growing. The 2005 growing season was marked by cool summer weather, extending ripening periods by several weeks. The longer ripening period allowed for even fruit development in the vineyard and contributed to high quality wines from the 2005 vintage. Grapes for this wine were hand picked and sorted the last week of September and second week of October.
About The Winery:
Roy Raymond, Sr. and his two sons, Roy Jr., and Walter founded Raymond Vineyards in 1971. This father and sons team worked together to plant and build Raymond Vineyards. Roy, Jr. and Walter still work side-by-side running the winery and producing fine Napa Valley wines.
The Raymond family and Napa’s history are closely linked. Roy Raymond Sr. arrived in the Napa Valley in 1933 and was hired as a cellar worker at Beringer Brothers Winery in St. Helena. He met Martha Jane Beringer and they were married in 1936.
Martha Jane’s grandfather and granduncle, Jacob and Frederic Beringer, had founded their California winery in 1876 after emigrating from Germany. Her father, Otto Beringer steered the winery through the difficult period of Prohibition by producing sacramental wine for religious purposes. Roy Raymond Sr. was selected to help with the long process of rebuilding, after Prohibition was repealed.
Roy and Martha Jane had two sons, Roy Jr. and Walter. Growing up in the Napa Valley, the boys spent many hours with their father in the winery and vineyards at Beringer. After attending college they took their places as 4th generation winemakers in the family business.
After Beringer Winery was sold in 1971, the Raymond family left to start making wine under the Raymond name. They purchased 90 acres just south of St. Helena in the geographic heart of Napa Valley. Their first harvest was in 1974.
A metal farm building functioned as their winery for the first few years, the grapes were unloaded with pitchforks and shovels, and the tasting room and offices were in Roy Sr.’s backyard pool house! The quality of the wines attracted immediate attention from wine journalists, competitions and the public. Raymond wines now earn accolades across the country for their elegance, balance and finesse.
Today, Roy, Jr. is the winery’s Executive Advisor. Walter is President and heads up winemaking and all production activities. Roy Jr. has seen his son, Craig take over duties as Vineyard Manager. Walter’s daughter, Krisi has been involved in sales, marketing and winemaking. With the addition of this 5th generation, Raymond family members oversee all operations, from grape growing and winemaking to sales and marketing.
Roy Sr. continued to be active in the family winery until shortly before his death in 1998. His kindness, generosity, strong work ethic and dedication to excellence continue to be an influence on a daily basis. The Raymond family and staff are proud to carry on this 130 year old tradition of creating fine Napa Valley wines in a close knit family tradition.
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Rutherford, Napa Valley
Harvest Date: The last week of September and the second week of October
Acid: 0.65 g/100ml
Aging: 19 months in new Nevers oak