A Day in Rutherford’s Dust

This past week we had the good fortune to participate in the Rutherford Dust Society’s annual wine tasting “A Day in the Dust” at the historic Rubicon Estate Winery in the Napa Valley. It was a wonderful tasting followed by a gourmet luncheon in the historic barrel room, complete with a surprise visit from the man himself, owner of Rubicon Estate Francis Ford Coppola. We tasted 22 wines in two flights of eleven each. The wines were all 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends from the Rutherford AVA.

The renowned winemaker André Tchelistcheff , who years ago branded the term “Dust,” said: “It takes Rutherford dust to grow great Cabernet.” Some people think that wines from this region have a unique soil characteristic that can be tasted in the wines. I have never been able to ascertain that taste, but what I do know about these wines is that they are wonderfully-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon wines to be enjoyed now, or to be aged in order to gain even further perfection.

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Francis Ford Coppola Does it Right at the Inglenook Chateau

It was 2003 when we last visited the famous and historic Inglenook Chateau built by Gustave Niebaum in 1887. When we visited it was called Niebaum Coppola in honor of Gustave Niebaum and Francis Ford Coppola, the current owner who rescued the historic winery from the giant Heublein Corporation in 1975. The Chateau was still beautiful but the place reminded us of more of a carnival or circus event. The parking lot was full and the tasting rooms were lined with people. There was merchandise galore for sale and on the second floor visitors packed the displays anxious to see Hollywood memorabilia from various Coppola films. It was hard to figure out what this beautiful place was all about.

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