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Day in the Dust—The Best 2013 Rutherford Cabernets

By Karen MacNeil
July 14, 2016

Yesterday was The Rutherford Dust Society’s Day in the Dust 2016, where all of the new vintage Rutherford (Napa Valley) wines are presented to the press and trade. The blind tasting of 2013 cabernet sauvignons was led by Sommelier Chris Sawyer, winemaker Trevor Durling and “super grower” Andy Beckstoffer.

One of the most historic appellations in the heart of the Napa Valley, Rutherford is known for cabernets that in great years like 2013 show lots of power and muscle. That was absolutely the case with these wines. Many were so structured and packed with flavor, they’ll be “unwinding” and growing more nuanced for years to come.

Rutherford cabernets are often said to display a character known as Rutherford dust. There are numerous interpretations of the idea—but I’ve always thought that the term relates to the wines’ textures. Many of the greatest Rutherford cabs have a cocoay “dusty” feel that’s unique.

My favorites in the group were:

  • FREEMARK ABBEY “Sycamore Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon 2013  (Rutherford, Napa Valley) $125
    Very classic. Exquisite lines of flavor. Intense. Fresh. Rich. Built to last.
  • SUPERY Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Rutherford, Napa Valley) $125
    Beautiful and complex wine with gorgeous cassis aromas and a fantastic arc of flavor.
  • CONN CREEK Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Rutherford, Napa Valley) $90
    Vibrant, sleek, exquisite balance and structure.
  • FLORA SPRINGS Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Rutherford, Napa Valley) $150
    Great crescendo of flavor, although a bit “chewy” at the moment.
  • RAYMOND Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Rutherford, Napa Valley) $85
    Dark cocoa, chocolate, and spices. Great, rich California “core” in the mid body.
  • SR TONELLA Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Rutherford, Napa Valley) $75
    Classic cassis flavors and dusty cocoa texture.