Bordeaux Varietal Production in Rutherford Climate
Why Rutherford’s Climate is Suited for Bordeaux Varietals
Cabernet Sauvignon is well suited to Rutherford’s climate and comprises over half of its acreage. The other traditional Bordeaux varietals, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot are also grown in the region.
Rutherford is located just north of Oakville. Although the two AVAs are very similar, there are some subtle differences. Because it is less affected by wind and fog from the San Pablo Bay, Rutherford is a bit warmer than Oakville.
Warmer temperatures dry and heat the soil, leading to riper grapes with more developed tannins. Rutherford Cabs have the tannic structure to age for decades. They tend to be slightly more complex and age worthy than examples from Oakville.
The best Cab vineyards are arguably located on the Western and Eastern Benches. Evenings typically cool substantially. At the same time, spring mornings can be chilly. The average rainfall is 26 to 36 inches per year. The AVA extends to 500 feet up the valley walls.
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