Rutherford Grove

2005 Napa Valley Estate Merlot

Merlot •Estate Vineyard

California: Napa Valley: Rutherford

Offer Expired:Mar 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s Merlot exceeded our high expectations. We always feature wines that we love, but when one really sines, we issue a special alert, in order to bring it to your attention.


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Mission Codename: Into the Deep

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: We’ve been given access to the secret wine archive at Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards. Send Agent Red to taste through the wines found there, and return with an allocation of their best library wine wine.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2005 Napa Valley Estate Merlot

Winemaker: Andy Pestoni

Backgrounder: Merlot, one of the primary grape varietals from Bordeaux finds an exceptional home in the Napa Valley. The Rutherford AVA is among the most famous of names in the valley and is primarily know for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and the other big Bordeaux varietals. Ironically, Rutherford was the last of the major districts to receive AVA status and is home to about 30 wineries. Its well drained soil made of a combination of marine sediment and volcanic gravel, sand and loam is distinct and contributes to its famed ‘Rutherford Dust’ component found its its great wines.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Beautiful ruby red, with pinkish edging. after swirling, chubby, wine-stained tears start high up on the glass. They take a very long time to emerge and even longer to run downward. A little bit of sediment

Smell – Sweet red raspberry and blueberry leap from the glass. Then, a sweet and spiced red cherry emerges, with strawberry, leather, lightly toasted oak and earthy bramble following close behind.

Feel – Plush and soft, on entry, this wine glides across the mid-palate. There, it gains weight and complexity, settling in and introducing a flinty dryness that spreads outward to the corners of the mouth. Bright acidity and soft tannins frame the fruit beautify, giving the wine great balance.

Taste – Juicy bright red cherry and tart young strawberry wrap themselves around raspberry, chocolate cherry, brown spice, toasty oak, bramble and red plum. As the wine opens a little, it also reveals dried violets and cocoa.

Finish – Ultra long and packed with flavor, leading with brilliant red fruit. These stick around for a long time, gradually giving way to darker fruit, spice, fruit and crushed dried black flower petals.

Conclusion – Delicious and delectable, this wine really too me by surprise! I really loved the 2006 and so I had high expectations, to be sure, but this 2005 Rutherford Grove Winery Estate Napa Valley Estate Merlot was so much better. Juicy and bursting with red fruit, this wine starts off sweet and then gradually goes more earthy, revealing a complexity that eases its way onto your palate. Beautifully balanced and elegant on the palate, heaven on the nose and really delicious, this is a wine that is equally suited to sipping and to pairing with a great meal. Pair this flexible wine with almost anything.

Mission Report:


AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

ANDY PESTONI: We are proud to release this 100% Estate Merlot sourced exclusively from our Estate vineyard located east of our winery and tasting room in the heart of the Rutherford Appellation.
This Merlot features great opening aromas of white pepper and blackberry. Well balanced tannins, leading to soft and lingering finish.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

ANDY: A nice rack of lamb is a great dish to have when drinking this wine, we also really enjoy the braised chuck gnocchi from Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Rutherford region so special?

ANDY: The well-drained soil of this area is composition of gravel, loam and sand with volcanic deposits and marine sediments or better known as terroir. The fruit for this wine comes from the historic growing area of Rutherford that is known for its famous dusty characteristic and we have great success farming our Rutherford vineyards. This Merlot came from the vineyard literally our front yard we are able to maintain a close eye on it year round to produce the best possible grapes.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

ANDY: Getting our Sauvignon Blanc ready for bottling.

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 location of the Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

About This Wine:

We are proud to release this 100% Estate Merlot sourced exclusively from our Estate vineyard located east of our winery and tasting room in the heart of the Rutherford Appellation.

Opening with aromas of mocha, spicy cedar and blackberry. Entry on the palate mimics the aromas or mocha with hints of white chocolate and berry. Rounded out with soft tannins and a clean finish.

About The Winery:

Nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley, Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards invites you to enjoy our wines, stroll through our gardens, or stay for an afternoon picnic. Conveniently located on Highway 29, we welcome visitors daily from 10am to 4:30pm. Prior appointment for tasting is not required for groups fewer than 8.

About The Winemaker:

Andy Pestoni is the fourth generation of his family to live and work in the Napa Valley. Born and raised in St. Helena, today he directs the winemaking for Rutherford Grove Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery’s total production is 10,000 cases a year and the wines are estate-grown from 50 acres of vineyards in the Rutherford and Howell Mountain appellations. The family came to the Napa Valley in the late 1880’s from the Ticino region of Switzerland, from the town of Monte Carasso.

“Even though I have winemakers in my family history, I didn’t think I’d grow up to be a winemaker,” Andy smiles. He caught the ‘wine bug’ working harvests at Beaulieu Vineyard while attending college. He went on to work in the cellar at Ferrari-Carrano in Sonoma County for several years. While he was at Ferrari-Carrano his father and uncle bought a winery formerly known as Rutherford Vintners, in the town of Rutherford, and asked Andy to ‘come home’ and help them launch it as a new family winery. Ray Corison joined the team for the first few years as a winemaking consultant, as did Bob Pepi; from the 1996 vintage on, though, Andy has directed all winemaking operations.

Technical Analysis:

Varietals: 100% Merlot

Alcohol: 14.3%

Barrel Aging: 18 months; 80% French oak, 20% American oak, 40% new, 30% 1-year old, 30% 2-year old

Winemaker: Andy Pestoni

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