Log In / Join Now

what we're drinking now

Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

A Napa Cabernet from the Cellar

Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Beckstoffer Vineyards Clone Six 2001

James Laube
Posted: November 15, 2010

I did some cellar cleaning the other day, moving in a few bottles and poking into bins to see whether I had lost track of any wines. For years, my cellar has mostly consisted of wines in ones and twos; I don’t buy cases like I used to.

I came across a 2001 Merryvale Rutherford Beckstoffer Clone Six bottle, which I had pulled out and stood up some time ago. Having nothing else in mind to pour for some friends who stopped by to visit, I uncorked it, decanted it (there was just a little sediment) and caught it in a fine drinking mode.

Very impressive and striking for its elegance and complexity, this Cabernet had an array of red and black licorice that added a dimension to the loamy earth, dried currant, roasted herb, mineral and cedar profile. The richness of the earth and black olive shone through in this wine, ending with tannins that give the flavors traction. On the finish, it deepened in complexity, holding true to its Rutherford roots—a wine of excellent balance, range of flavor, focus and length. It should drink well for another five to eight years. 90 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Beckstoffer Vineyards Clone Six 2001 (90, $88).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more Cabernet tasting report in our Nov. 15 issue.

John Wilen
Texas —  November 15, 2010 10:57am ET
Poking into bins to see what I had lost track of......? Nobody does that any more. JL, get yourself on CellarTracker!
William J Magister
Milwaukee,WI —  November 15, 2010 11:37am ET
A matter of fact I just poked around a few weeks ago
to see what I had lost track of.

I guess people still do that.

It's fun to do.

I'm sure James is familiar with CellarTracker.
Andrew J Walter
Sacramento, CA —  November 15, 2010 1:41pm ET
no, finding "suprises" is half of the fun
John Van Rossem
Newport Beach, CA —  November 16, 2010 11:25am ET
I agree...it's like going to a family reunion with Alzheimers...always meeting new family members. Seriously, it's fun finding bottles you forgot about.
Richard Kim
Anaheim Hills, CA —  November 16, 2010 5:04pm ET
Even with Cellar Tracker, I enjoy spending time in the cellar, checking on bottles, rearranging, opening bottles to taste, and a dozen other things. I miss my wines when I haven't seen them in a while.
Jeffrey Matchen
New Jersey —  November 17, 2010 11:52am ET
I went poking around my cellar today and found two cabs that never made it to my VinCellar database. A couple half bottles of Joseph Phelps '07 and two bottles of the '06 Ladera Howell Mountain - solves the question of what to drink tonight...
Dustin Gillson
Dayton, OH —  November 20, 2010 1:04pm ET
I am just trying to get my cellar to point of having enough bottles to lose. . . At about 50 now and I could probably recreate what I have from memory. All singles too.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.