Ruth’s Darling

I have a lot of older BV Ruth in the cellar and keep telling myself to check in on these younger vintages, but there’s just SOOOO many wines to review… And of course–as with any stalwart label–there comes an “Ah-Hah” moment for when *something changed*, where modern styles transition out of classic expectations. We all hope it never happens, but progress in marketing to modern palates in a corporate environment is almost a decided FACT. And hope springs eternal.

Thick, impenetrable ruby-garnet in the glass, robust spicy cherry bogged down in muddy chalk and dust with a sweaty side of barnyard. The blackberry is visceral and rich, tempered with slight ripe-tropical and heavenly layers of leathery velvet. You can SMELL the tannin, but it is draped in plushness. Despite the lack of agitated *green-ness*, everything is carried well on the bouquet.

The nose on BV Ruth doesn’t become masterful until at least a decade, so not going to judge too hard on that vapidity. Tasting it reveals the classical splendor and un-wavering dedication to form I love this inexpensive wine for. Not slutty, not overly-fruited, not unduly ripe: the attack a blithering smear of rock road and angry cardboard bringing smiles to my face. It’s ripe, but slung along-side is fat helpings of acid and bitter discrimination between *lush* and *lasting*. The latter definitely gains the upper hand here, as I think 2015 *might* be the closest thing to 2011 we’ve seen. Dense, distinct berry fills the middle, but everywhere: the user-unfriendliness of old-skool Rutherford pokes through. Hard to describe, but it’s that extra dose of *something* which makes “Napa Valley” and “Tapestry” more-desireable versions for the 99. An interesting meld of grainy plateaus and California un-discrimination, with powerful tobacco and licorice calling the shots between gracious berry obfuscation. I have NOT lost faith in this label. Please dear god don’t let me ever. It is STILL true cabernet from Napa. Possibly the place-mark.

2015 BEAULIEU VINEYARD Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley 14.6

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