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Rated B Rated D/F Reviews Wine

Review: 2016 Rutherford Ranch Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon

Two new releases from Napa’s Rutherford Ranch, one of which I can get behind, one of which I can’t…

2016 Rutherford Ranch Merlot Napa Valley – A sugar bomb, overloaded with notes of chocolate sauce and instant coffee. Any hint of the floral delicacy of merlot is absent here, in a wine that feels closer to a milkshake than any merlot I’ve ever encountered. D+ / $17

Update April 2019: Citing “bottle variance,” the winery sent a fresh bottle and the experience is night and day. It’s certainly still chocolate-heavy, but the wine is balanced by ample tannins and notes of almond and cinnamon. Still not overwhelmingly floral, but much more approachable and balanced. A fine pairing with pasta. B

2016 Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – Classic Napa cab, loaded with chocolate and vanilla notes, with some toasty oak in the mix. It’s the spiced currant notes that do the heavy lifting here, filling this wine’s palate with a ton of fruit, offering an overall sweetness that is tempered — just so — by a touch of tannin. Ready to drink now. B / $26


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2016 Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley



Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content company.

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