I was scheduled to go wine tasting in Napa with Grace Hoffman, author of Cellarmistress’ Cellar Talk, as we both planned to be in Napa at the same time. She received an invitation to A Day in the Dust: A Tasting of 2008 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Blends scheduled for the same date we were supposed to go tasting together. Grace asked if I would be interested in attending this event, and of course, I said yes. She contacted the event coordinator and asked if she could include a guest and the event coordinator said yes, so on July 13, 2011, I found myself at Niebaum-Coppola’s Rubicon Estate at my first-ever private media and trade tasting.
The media tasting was first. We were welcomed by various members of the Rutherford Dust Society and given some history and information about the society, the wines and wineries in Rutherford AVA, and the 2008 growing season. We participated in two blind tastings of 11 wines each, with a short break in between. We had approximately 20-30 minutes to taste each of the 11 wines. All of the wines were lovely in spite of the challenging 2008 growing season, but I found myself drawn to three wines in particular. My three favorites were by Peju (flight #1), Sawyer Cellars (flight #2), and Meander (flight #2). In fact, two of my three favorites were wines made by female winemakers: Peju by winemaker Sara Fowler and Meander by winemaker/proprietor Amy Aiken.
After the 22-wine media tasting, we were served a fantastic lunch and our choice of Rutherford APA whites and reds from our media tasting. I must say it was quite exciting lunching with guests such as Francis Ford Coppola and Andy Beckstoffer. Following lunch, we were invited to attend A Special Grand Tasting for the Trade. At the trade tasting, I revisited Sawyer Cellars; Peju, where I met and spoke with proprietor Herta Peju; and Meander, where I met and spoke with winemaker Amy Aiken about her Cabernet Sauvignon. It was an amazing experience at a beautiful estate.
Niebaum-Coppola’s Rubicon Estate
1991 St Helena Hwy
Rutherford CA 94572
(707) 968-1161 (Tours)