Rutherford Grove

2004 Estate Merlot

Merlot •Estate Vineyard

California: Napa Valley: Rutherford

Offer Expired:Aug 20, 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 Merlot, this wine belongs in your cellar.


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Mission Codename: Gen V

Operative: Agent Red

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

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2004 Rutherford Grove Estate Merlot – Napa Valley – Rutherford Bench

Winemaker: Andy Pestoni


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 the town of St. Helena, Rutherford Grove Winery sits between Grgich Hills Estate to the south and Whitehall Lane to the north. For today’s wine, we send Agent Red to investigate and, today, he returns with the winery’s tremendous Estate Merlot. Read his tasting notes and mission report below

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep garnet in color with a darker inky core. The concentrated color of this wine extends just out to the rim of the glass where it lightens to a burgundy color. The wine settles quickly when swirled, leaving behind widely spaced legs that start slowly and gain speed as they make their way down the glass

Smell – Bold intensity aromas of sweet blueberry and raspberry, followed by notes of dried violets and ripe cherry. Underneath these are layers of anise, soft spices, sweet wood, dusty earth and a touch of toasted vanilla

Feel – Full-bodied and smooth with rich, medium tannins, and easy acidity and a dense and slightly dusty texture that adds to the overall character of the wine

Taste – Bold and dense fruit with darkly jammy fruit of strawberry, raspberry and other red fruit. These are well integrated with a dose of medium toasted oak that emerges with a slightly creamy vanilla quality. As you delve more deeply into this wine, flavors of dried flowers, anise, soft spice and dark chocolate emerge, completing the delicious palate of this wine

Finish – The long finish of this wine lingers with ripe and rich fruit, soft spice and a dusky texture that invites more big sips

Conclusion – In a word, Delicious! This is a fantastic Merlot that is certain to please any red wine lover, even those skeptical of Merlot. Those in the know when it comes to Merlot, know that, done right, Merlot is the killer table wine. A perfect companion for fine dining or everyday meals, Merlot – this Merlot – has bold but balanced flavors, with great acidity, making it a compliment to your dining. This wine gets our heartiest recommendation!

Mission Report:

Below is a recap of Agent White’s original mission when he discovered Rutherford Grove Winery & Vineyards.

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 2004 Estate Merlot. 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

Awards & Accolades:

93 Points – Just Wine Points

About This Wine:

We are proud to release to you 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 of mocha with hints of white chocolate and berry. The 2004 Merlot is well balanced 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

Appelation: Rutherford

Barrel Aging: 18 months, 80% French oak, 20% American oak
40% new, 30% one-year old, 30% two-year old

Winemaker: Andy Pestoni

Alcohol: 14.5%

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