2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
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Mission Codename: A Rued Awakening
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Rued Winery in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley to uncover the secret of their 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Rued Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Steve and Sonia Rued
Backgrounder: The lush Dry Creek Valley, in Sonoma County, is home to some of our most favorite wineries. A still and beautiful place the Dry Creek Valley is fertile, lush and abundant with vineyards that produce an astonishing range of wines. From creekside low-lying vineyards to those at higher elevations, the variety of flavors and styles – even among a particular varietal – is astounding. So, too, is the _quality. For today’s wine, Agent Red spent time with the Rued family, a seventh generation winemaking and growing family. The husband and wife winemaking team of Steve and Sonia Rued are as unique as their wines are delicious. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A deeply concentrated rub red that maintains its depth of color right out to its edges. On swirling, this wine looks deep and inky, with a bouncy surface that settles fast, leaving behind chubby, tightly-spaced legs that move slowly down the inside of the glass
Smell – Deeply aromatic with an initial rush of blackberry, currant, dark ripe cherry, and shaved chocolate with hints of dried flowers, stems a hint of soft oak
Feel – This wine start off fast and cool across the front of the mouth, the it settles in and grows larger as medium tannins take hold and the wine coats the entire mouth
Taste – Dusky and dark at first, then layers of fruit emerge, showing off dark mixed berry, dark plum, dark acerola cherry, black tea, mild spice and medium oak, with a hint of mint
Finish – Begins dark and then brightens as sweet and more fruity flavors emerge. This is followed by a soft tartness and darker flavors that tail off slowly as a dryness gradually takes over
Conclusion – A fantastic wine which beautifully expresses the special character of the land and the people that make it. This wine shows the richness and extraction present in weighty Cabernet Sauvignon, but its serious side is tempered beautifully by the bright elegance of its delicious fruit. This is a wine of balance that makes for easy pairing with a wide range of foods. We enjoyed ours with pasta Primavera and Italian sausage. Later, on the advice of the winery, we enjoyed a glass with gourmet dark chocolate. Delicious from end to end, with enough acidity and structure to compliment – rather than overpower – our pairing choices.
No every mission goes as planned. Such was the case with with my recent mission to investigate Rued Winery in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley.
I love the Dry Creek Vally, and I have almost never been let down by wines coming from this gorgeous region. I find DCV wines to be widely varied and consistently exceptional.
After a recent visit to the area, I put out a general bulletin to my fellow agents, seeking recommendations for other DCV wineries to investigate. I also put out alerts in my extended informant network. My comrade agents were all away on mission, so I did not expect an immediate response. Nor did I expect a response from one of my other assets.
The communique came in mere minutes later, from a fellow that we call “Agent Provocateur”. While not a full-fledged Wine Spies Agent, this wine industry insider has provided us with some of the most valuable wine industry intel we have received from outside sources.
On receipt of the flash traffic message, I sprang into action and headed directly to the winery. I took up spotting position in a tree, directly across from the winery. There I sat with binoculars in hand, noting all of the characteristics and attributes of the winery. All was going well, until I spotted someone at the winery looking at me through a pair of binoculars! The shock caused me to lose my balance – and I toppled from the tree.
wine. i smell wine.
“Agent Red. Can you hear me?”
I heard myself say, somewhat dully, “Whu?”
“I think he’s coming to.”
“Where am I,” I asked.
“You’re at the Rued Winery, Agent Red. You fell from a tree.”
Shocked, I said, “How do you know my name?”
“It’s embroidered on your knit cap. And, we were expecting you.”
(note to self: Leave the office only cap at the office!)
“Quite so,” I said. I got to my feet and after a little felt myself again.
Not the best introduction, but these warm folks made me feel at ease – and at home. After they were sure that I was okay, we discussed the history of the family and we talked all about Rued wine, grape growing and winemaking.
The Rued family have farming roots that go back five generations. The Rued family has been growing grapes in California since 1876, when winemaker Steve Rued’s great great grandfather grew grapes from Beringer. Today, the Rued’s have 150 acres of grapes under their care and the family winery is a family-run affair.
Dee Rued runs winery operations and sales while husband Richard farms the grapes. Their son, Steve is one half of a unique Rued winemaking partnership. Steve’s wife, Sonia, is the other half.
While the family grows grapes for wineries such as Kenwood, Korbell and Valley of the Moon, they also grow some very special grapes for their own estate wines. And, what great wines they are!
The moment I tasted their 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, I was hooked. I then did what any good Wine Spy would do: After I asked for an icepack for the bump on my head, I asked for an allotment of their great Cab for our Operatives. Luckily, they provided both!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Rued Winery, where today’s Cabernet Sauvignon was born and crafted, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
We produced only 280 cases of this richly flavored estate wine. The near opaque color is purple/ruby to the eye. Aromas of black current, chocolate, ripe cherries, vanilla and nutmeg reside inside a faint halo of violet notes. This Cab expands on the palate with smooth tannins that envelope its medium body. More black current, bing cherry, pepper, and hints of mint make this a delicious and substantial Dry Creek Valley Cabernet. We expect it to arrive at peak maturity around 2012 and drink beautifully for many years thereafter.
Food Pairings: We believe this wine would be perfect for pairing with grilled beef, leg of lamb or even dark chocolate out of the wrapper.
About The Vineyard:
Richard planted our Cabernet Sauvignon vines on our Dry Creek Valley home estate in 1970 and has replanted some of the vines over time as nature necessitated. The Rued family has been farming this particular piece of land since 1957. It is located on Dry Creek Valley benchland that provides abundant sunshine and fertile soil, allowing us to fully ripen our Cabernet while controlling yield. The 2005 vintage gave us an extended growing season, despite unusually warm weather in early spring. However, cooler temperates in late spring and early summer lengthened the growing season giving our Cabernet extra time on the vine in 2005.
About The Winery:
In 1876, Henry Rued left his home in Switzerland and traveled to Northern California where he would take up employment planting grapes for the Beringer Brothers in Napa Valley. Though a new country for Henry, it was not a new line of work. The Rueds were a grape growing family in Switzerland. And it wasn’t too long before Henry Rued planted his own grapes. In 1882 he put down his family’s roots, as well as grapevines, in Sonoma County.
Six generations and more than 125 years later, the Rued family continues to farm land throughout Sonoma county, cultivating wine grapes at their Home Estate in Dry Creek Valley as well as farming substantial tracks of land in Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley. And of course, they now produce handcrafted, small batch wines under their own label—they are the wines that define a family who’s roots extend deep into Sonoma County history.
Winemaking Family Style:
It’s fair to say that if a husband and wife can survive the long days of a harvest together, they’ve probably got a pretty strong relationship. Steve and Sonia Rued are living proof. Theirs is not a case of one spouse waiting up late for their better half to return home with purple hands. Theirs is the unique case of a husband and wife both working side by side to crush and press, oversee fermentation, rack and fine the wines, make winemaking decisions and care for the family’s wines from harvest through bottling. Steve & Sonia Rued are the husband and wife winemaking team at Rued Vineyards.
Steve & Sonia met in 1993 when she, a native of South Africa, spent the season in the lab at Dry Creek Valley Vineyards just around the corner from the Rued family’s vineyards. At the time, Steve, the youngest son of Dee and Richard, worked the cellar at Dry Creek Valley Vineyards. By 1996 they married and each pursued different paths in the wine industry. Sonia pursued enologist and winemaking positions at Sonoma’s Carmenet and Seghesio Vineyards while Steve went on to hold the position of Winemaker at Kenwood Vineyards, Valley of the Moon and finally Rutherford Wine Company.
Together they were the stewards for the first (2004) vintage of Rued family and have worked side by side in the cellar at their family’s Dry Creek Valley estate ever since.
Their secret of working together as husband and wife and staying husband and wife? Respect for each other and each other’s skills and talents.