2005 Racehorse Red
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
Today’s wine deserves special recognition as a wine that delivers a drinking experience beyond its price level – and earning it this QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) alert.
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Mission Codename: All you need for happiness
Objective: Send Agent Red to RustRidge Ranch and Winery, from our field agents have spied a fantastic red blend. If the wine is as good as our Operatives say it is, procure an ample quantity.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: RustRidge Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Racehorse Red
Winemaker: Susan Meyer
Backgrounder:The Chiles Valley AVA is a very distinctive grape growing region the northeastern part of the Napa Valley. It is a small, narrow and very steep growing region that sits between St. Helena to the west and Lake Berryessa to the east. The region warm climate and well drained soils provide great growing conditions for Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes for today’s Gold Medal-winning wine was grown at 1000 feet above the valley floor.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby hues with a deepening heart of dark garnet. At the edge of the wine, a thin band of brilliant red plum encircles the glass. Swirl the wine and witness skinny, wine-stained legs that begin high up on the glass, before they march steadily downward.
Smell – A warm rush of dark candied cherry leaps from the glass. This delicious aroma is followed by black fig, red currant, black currant, sweet stewed plum, star anise, black pepper and subtle white pepper.
Feel – Soft and smooth on the initial attack, then a soft grip begins to take hold at the mid-palate, spreading a crushed velvet dryness that starts at the edges of the palate and then spreads its way outward.
Taste – Delicious candied black cherry, blackberry, dried cranberry, dark raspberry and red currant. These are followed by soft spice, subtle black pepper and an easy, dark minerality.
Finish – Smooth and long with lush fruit, soft spice and mild flinty minerals.
Conclusion – What a delight this wine is! The Chiles Valley produces unique and remarkable fruit that makes for some really remarkable wines. With delicious fruit flavors, this wine has great balance and plenty of character. We found ourselves spending a long time just inhaling the sweet aromas of this wine. Have fun pairing this flexible and food-friendly wine. Treat it as you would a Zin or a Cab, and pair the wine with your summer BBQ or more serious fine dining. We enjoy sipping this wine all on its own – and with wood-oven pizza with pepperoni and jalapenos. Delicious!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Susan Meyer
WINE EDUCATION: On the job while I took on RustRidge from Merry Edwards and Ken Rosemblum
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Always here at RustRidge
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Handle the grapes as little as possible and let the fruit shine through the wine.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Wine with the spirit of a thoroughbred.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1992
AGENT RED: Greetings, Susan. We are thrilled to be showing your delicious 2005 Racehorse Red today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SUSAN MEYER: Hello to you – Agent Red.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SUSAN: Wine has always been a part of my life and RustRidge specifically since 1972
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SUSAN: Kent Rosemblum
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SUSAN: The people – our fans
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
SUSAN: We’ve been making Racehorse Red since our first release by blending estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. This 2005 is the first year we went heavier with the Cab in the blend with it being 67% and Zinfandel just 37% – we’re pleased with the result. Blending, being the art of winemaking shows the best of both varietals. You get the Cabernet nose and structure and the Zin comes in mid-palate with great fruit and smoothes out the finish.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SUSAN: This wine can complement a wide variety of foods from BBQ’d meats to grilled salmon.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley sub-appellation of Chiles Valley so special?
SUSAN: This is a distinct microclimate that isolated from traffic and other pollutants. Our vines thrive here with the right amount of winter rain, summer sun, cool evenings and healthy soil.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SUSAN: Preparing the next vintage for bottling, which is around the corner, just before the next harvest and in the vineyard we’re trellising the new vines.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
SUSAN: With good company, good food and a warm heart.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SUSAN: The real passion here at RustRidge begins in our vineyards: by committing to both dry and organic farming, we’re allowing the most honest and true characteristics to shine through in each of our wines from the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnays to varietal Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandels.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the RustRidge Ranch and Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
About This Wine:
2005 Racehorse Red has arrived! This is our second release of this popular wine. A luscious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, it is a full bodied wine with cherry and current flavors, Chiles Valley spice and a long and smooth finish.
About The Winery:
The secluded property, once a large thoroughbred horse ranch, was purchased by Susan Meyer’s family in 1972. Now it reflects Jim & Susan’s two passions: wine and horses. They continue to breed and race thoroughbreds and each spring; just about the time new buds form on the grape vines, new foals are born.
The grape vines were planted in the mid 70’s to Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The winery was founded by Stan and Grant Meyer in 1985. It is housed in a renovated cattle barn. Winemaker Susan Meyer and her husband, Jim Fresquez, took over the reins of the operation in 1990.
Helping Susan handcraft the estate-bottled wines produced by RustRidge is distinguished consultant winemaker Kent Rosenblum. Vines are organically grown and dry farmed. The grapes are used by Susan and Kent to create RustRidge’s spectrum of award-winning wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.
The region’s special microclimate is integral to the character of RustRidge wines. The Chiles Valley lies approximately 1,000 feet above the Napa Valley floor.
The day time climate here is similar to that of the Oakville and Rutherford areas; however, the temperature is several degrees cooler at night. The cooler nights and the higher elevation delay bud-break which occurs two to three weeks later than the rest of Napa Valley. As a result, the grapes are harvested later than most other grapes from Napa Valley which, in part, lends distinctive flavor and quality to the wines. The reds are redolent of black cherry, raspberry and spice, while the white wines show distinct flavors and aromas of green apple, ripe pear, pineapple and citrus.
Varietal: Red Blend
Composition: 100% dry farmed estate Cabernet Sauvignon (66.67%) and Zinfandel (33.33%)
TA: .64 g/100 ml
Date Harvested: Zinfandel – October 2005, Cabernet Sauvignon – November 2005
Brix at Harvest: Cabernet Sauvignon – 23.5 degrees, Zinfandel – 25 degrees
Date Bottled: October 18, 2006
Date Released: Immediately
Barrel Type: French Oak
Barrel Aging: 2 Years
Production: 1189 cases