Rutherford Grove

2005 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon •Estate Vineyard

California: Napa Valley: Howell Mountain

Offer Expired:Apr 09, 2009 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s selection from Rutherford Grove is truly a wine of elegance and distinction. If you are a fan of the great wines from Howell Mountain, this wine belongs in your cellar.


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Mission Codename: Five Generations of Great Wines and Great Times

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure an exceptional selection from family run Rutherford Grove.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2005 Estate Reserve Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Andy Pestoni


Napa County’s Howell Mountain AVA, established in 1984 is known for its wines of deep concentration and intensity. The higher elevation and relatively flat aspect make the location great for vineyards, and specifically Cabernet Sauvignon. The first vines in the Howell Mountain area were planted in the 1880s.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep dark purple and an almost inky and black core with highlighting garnet hues that sparkle as you swirl this wine. Deep garnet along the edges with alternating fast and slow thin legs that leave hints of this wine’s color on the sides of the glass.

Smell – Medium in intensity with aromas of soft blackberry and wild bramble that are layered over complex notes of savory herbs, toasted oak and hints of black licorice and dark chocolate.

Feel – Solid, rich and almost rustic in character, this full-bodied wine has fine firm tannins and well balanced acidity. Well structured, but not overpowering, as this wine opens up and breathes, its true finesse is revealed.

Taste – Rich and luscious dusty black-fruit including blackberry, black-cherry and a little plum are framed by toasted oak with vanilla hints, a touch of black licorice, mocha and dried fall herbs.

Finish – This wine finishes exceptionally long with lingering flavors of its spice and fruit that are well supported by this wine’s structure.

Conclusion – The 2005 Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards Estate Reserve Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is most deserving of all of its accolades. Well developed aromas, a fantastic rustic character that makes this wine accessible and at the same time shows finesse, classic Howell Mountain rich fruit supported by a structure that stands up but doesn’t overpower and a finish that just goes on and on. A wonderful wine, produced with care and the desire to let the fruit truly represent, it is perfect for a simple grilled Porterhouse steak. We recommend decanting and this wine will continue to develop for many years to come.

Mission Report:

Every now and then wine mixes with another passion, specifically my love of fine historic automobiles. So it was with great pleasure that we accepted an initiation to attend a specific wine tasting event at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles that was featuring the wines and wineries of the Howell Mountain Vintners & Growers Association. (To honest, given the magnitude of great wines, they could have hosted the event at a stock yard and I’d be there).

I asked one of my favorite tasting partners to join me, We’ll call her Agent Fire Cracker for now. So named as she is half French and half Columbian, I’ll let you guess which side won, but she has one of the most sophisticated palates of anyone I know and I wanted her judgment since I was likely to be swayed by all the four-wheeled distractions.

With so many great wineries represented this was both a pleasure but also a daunting task. So many great wines so little time. We used the W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) to help us narrow down the specific target wineries and their selections so we could focus on only the best. Fire Cracker and I, with our cover established covertly tasted the wines on our list. So many were great and over the next few months you’ll be presented with our findings.

Today, we are pleased to introduce you to one of those great wineries, the folks from Rutherford Grove and their delicious 2005 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Strategically located near Herbie – The Love Bug of Disney movie fame, this wine is equally a classic. The folks at Rutherford Grove have an extensive history of winemaker that dates back five generations. Winemaker, Andy Pestoni and the Pestoni family is committed not only producing wines of exceptional character but also to sustainable farming practices. After you taste today’s selection, we are sure you’ll agree that history, tradition and respect for the environment make all the difference.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

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

What the Winery Says

Rutherford Grove Winery & Vineyards, Member, Napa Valley Vintners

Awards & Accolades:

Double Gold Medal & Best In Show – San Francisco International Wine Competition

91 PointsWine Enthusiast – A very rich, stylish Cab that shows forward fruit flavors and is softer and more accessible than you’d expect for a Howell Mountain red wine. Made with 25% Merlot, it shows classic cassis and cherries, leading to a very long, spicy finish. Should develop additional complexities over the next eight years. — S.H. (12/1/2008)

About This Wine:

Brooding in the glass, this mountain wine displays deep garnet hues and is loaded with plush flavors of blackberry, vanilla and toasty cedar spices. Having big structure but wonderful balance and a lengthy finish.

Our 2005 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from our Howell Mountain Estate vineyard located on Summit Lake Drive. Thirteen acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Merlot are planted on this 160-acre mountain ranch at an elevation of over 2,000 feet.

Soil and weather conditions of this mountain vineyard are challenging, but worth the extra effort as it produces a wine with great flavor, intensity and aging properties.

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: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot

Appelation: Howell Mountain, Napa County

Barrel Aging: 20 months in French Oak; 60% new, 30% one year old, 10% two-years old.

Winemaker: Andy Pestoni

Alcohol: 14.4%

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