Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rating: ****+ 2005 Chez Ray Rutherford Bench Cabernet Sauvignon (CR5), Napa CA

Original Review, April, 2007: This is from the Brehm frozen grape series, with early tasting notes here. The 2005 Chez Ray Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon is made from frozen Brehm Vineyard grapes, fermented in a combination of D254 and D80 yeasts with two weeks of extended maceration (process here).

This is opaque black almost to the edges. The nose is emitting an incredible black inky violet aroma into the room. On the palate, this is pure aromatic ink, with slight yeast overtones. Drills into all your mental crevices with a lasting, sleek finish. Wow. Best so far from Chez Ray. Four stars with a plus for promise on the Spirit of Wine scale. Looking forward to watching this one over time.


Updated October, 2008: A year and a half later. Still almost black in the glass, with purple glint at edge. Black ink is still the predominant aroma. The palate has a minerally cast, resolving to a slate-y, purple ink at the edges. The finish has that inkiness slowly trailing along a slow curve til it disappears at the horizon. Still four stars, but removing the plus, as it seems to be showing its true self now.

Updated January, 2009: With lengthy decanting, the Chez Ray Rutherford Bench picks up serious chocolate and dark berry. Swirling depths. Very cool indeed.

Updated, May, 2009: In the glass, the Rutherford cab is deep red, bordering on opaque in the middle. Aromas are muddled fruit and vegetables, quite sweet in style. The palate is round - it brings a bit of milk chocolate to the forefront, with balancing tannins and light acids touching the cheeks. Finish is actually quite lengthy. Awesome. Still four stars for sure, bringing the plus back for its happy balance.

Updated review, another two years later,  now 7 years from vintage date, May, 2012:  Deep magenta in the glass, still (remarkably) with a hue of violet at the rim.  Soft, spicy with black cherry chocolate milk on the nose.  Soft, deep, fresh and layered still on the palate.  Still very tasty.   


  1. Hi Ray,

    I saw this today and thought of you: Vinfolio, an "eBay for Wine Collectors":

    The article I read:

    Tracy Sheridan

  2. Brave new world, isn't it? Thanks Tracy!