Photo above - the red, volcanic soil of Rudd Estate in the eastern bench of Oakville.
Last week I had meetings with the visiting owners of DEAN & DELUCA Japan. (http://www.deandeluca.com/AboutUs/International.aspx). Here for a few days, we discussed their future projects (two more stores are in the works in Tokyo this year making it 16 total in Japan- wow!), the idea of me working to help procure more unique and interesting CA wines for their stores and then on the flip side, them working to help us source more Japanese products that would be a huge benefit for us stateside. We enjoyed a phenomenal dinner at Press Restaurant (which I’ll be writing about in a few days) and on our last afternoon together, I made arrangements for us to finish our day walking the vineyards at Rudd Estate (http://www.deandeluca.com/wine/california-wine-country/oakville/rudd-estate/).
Photo above - the view leaving the Rudd gardens looking southwest onto the vineyard.
Part of the reason why I really enjoy my time at Rudd is because I’ve spent quite a bit of time there and just feel really comfortable visiting. But it’s that in combination with this feeling I actually get when walking the vineyards and picturesque gardens that have been so carefully tended- it’s a sense of true relaxation and total calm that makes me love being there. In my workdays of continually crunching as much talking, tasting, typing and teaching as I possibly can into a single day, visiting properties like this are a very welcome change of pace.
Photo above - the flowers and trees in bloom at the entrance of Rudd Estate.
Prior to that though, I drove a few miles south from our wine offices to catch up with Daniel Ha, the Sales and Hospitality Manager at Dana Estates (http://www.deandeluca.com/wine/california-wine-country/rutherford/dana-estate/). Fortunately for me, he had just finished meeting with some clients beforehand and so after meeting with him, I was able to revisit and taste the ’07 Helms Vineyard Cab. As focused and complex as I remember it being when I tried it a few years ago, it had opened up very nicely and was showing finesse in the glass with a long, lingering finish of saturated black and purple fruit with finely grained tannins. This too is another winery that evokes tranquility- it’s like this Eden in the middle of Eden. As soon as you walk up to the winery itself, you feel like you’re entering a temple of serenity and that feeling carries through wherever you are on the Rutherford property.
Photo above - Dana Estate Helms Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - this was the original vineyard designate and is where the winery is located.
Photo above - the view of Helms Vineyard from Dana Estate facing northeast from the patio.
Photo above - The different soil types become very apparent when looking at them side by side in these canisters. From L-R: Helms Vineyard in Rutherford, Crystal Vineyard (newest site), Lotus Vineyard in St. Helena and Hershey Vineyard on Howell Mountain.
Two great wineries, two very special places tucked into Napa Valley and one happy camper. It was a good week!
- Kerrin Laz, Wine Director